Qabbani Urges Election of President to End Chaos


Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani called on Friday for ending the vacuum at the presidential palace to stop further security chaos.

This “is an unnatural phenomenon, which should be stopped,” Qabbani said in his Ramadan message.

“Some parties are imposing vacuum and consolidating its presence in our lives,” he warned, saying the citizens are paying the price of the crises gripping the country.

“The vacuum is opening the door to security and political chaos … We won’t find solutions to the security situation in the absence of a president,” he said.

Qabbani stated that “Lebanon without a president means a nation without a head.”

The country’s top Christian post has been vacant since the expiry of President Michel Suleiman’s six-year term on May 25.

The vacuum is the result of differences between the rival March 8 and 14 camps on a compromise candidate.

The Mufti slammed what he called “hatred” among the Lebanese. He also urged unity among Muslims and Christians, saying they should find common ground to confront strife.

In his Ramadan message, Qabbani called for “holding elections in all religious and civilian institutions.”

He said he exerted all efforts to prevent strife among Muslims during his tenure, which ends in September.

He urged Sunnis to unite and elect a new Mufti.

The Higher Islamic Council — which elects the Mufti and organizes Dar al-Fatwa’s affairs – became the center of controversy in 2012 after 21 of its members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended its term until 2015 despite Qabbani’s objection.

The Mufti later held elections for the Council, which were deemed illegal.

Earlier this month, the Council led by the Mufti and the one formed by his rival deputy Omar Misqawi called for the election of a Mufti before the expiry of Qabbani’s term on Sept. 15.


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