Top Lebanese Christian Cleric Scores Delayed Cabinet Formation, Country’s Decay Rooted in Political Feuds

Top Lebanese Christian Cleric Scores Delayed Cabinet Formation, Country’s Decay Rooted in Political Feuds

Bechara Boutros Al-Rai recently called out politicians for failing to present a fresh cabinet at least a quarter of the year following the last polls. 

The cause? Unending political tug-of-war among the Lebanese elected officials.

Al-Rai's Strong Political Criticism

Al-Rai, the Maronite patriarch and Lebanon's highest-ranking Christian religious leader, was quoted by Reuters calling such inaction "shameful."

The Christian cleric explained that Lebanon's "decay" can be attributed to the cyclical feuding among politicians on issues that paralyzes local politics in favor of cross-country matters.

"Isn't it shameful that authorities make efforts to reach an agreement with Israel on maritime borders but refrain from forming a government?" Reuters quoted Al-Rai saying during his weekly sermon.

The Maronite cleric also wondered aloud if the Lebanese leadership finds working with next-door neighbor and long-standing nemesis Israel easier than sitting down to form a cabinet for the Lebanese people.

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Political Split as Root of Country's 'Decay'

Al-Rai also contended in his sermon how the political divide in Lebanon among individual politicians and their political parties is causing the country's "decay" in many aspects.

The cleric explained how such schism in the government contributes to the rot in Lebanon's society, economy, politics, and financial well-being.

The Reuters article noted how many Lebanese views systemic dysfunction and corrupt activities as negatively affecting the political elite who have been running the country for many years.

The news outlet noted how this handicap caused 80% of Lebanese to suffer poverty.

Breaking the Deadlock

Reuters noted how the Maronite Patriarch's vocal critique of the current government crisis in Lebanon indicates the latter's attempt to "break the deadlock."

The news outlet quoted Al-Rai saying that the ongoing murky media campaigns seem to point to forces who aim to derail cabinet formation and scheduled presidential elections in the last part of 2022.

Reuters noted Al-Rais allusion to the heightening rift between two of the country's most powerful figures in national politics: Najib Mikati and Michel Aoun.

Mikati is Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister while Aoun is the incumbent president, the news outlet bared.

The article revealed that it was Mikati who found difficulty assembling a new cabinet to help put the country's business in order.

Mikati had earlier received a fresh mandate as Lebanon's Prime Minister in May 2022 parliamentary elections, the report said.

President Aoun, who heads the Free Patriotic Movement, released several statements early last week that pointed to Mikati's alleged corruption-fueled wealth accumulation.

Reuters said that the group also accused the Lebanese Prime Minister of deliberately stalling cabinet formation.

However, the news outlet noted that Mikati had submitted an initial list of cabinet members to the president in June. Aoun, however, wanted a different lineup.

The Prime Minister's office likewise accused President Aoun of being "out of touch" with what is happening in the country.

About Al-Rai

Bechara Boutros Al-Rai (also spelled Al-Rahi) is Lebanon's 77th Maronite Church leader, according to an article by

Al-Rai became Lebanon's top Christian cleric on March 15, 2011, based on a five-day voting process by the Council of Maronite Bishops.

The website noted that Al-Rai was the first modern Maronite and Arab religious leader in a papal election in 2013. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Francis following his election.

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