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Raï warns against ”torpedoing” or ”postponement” of legislative elections due to legal proceedings

Cardinal Béchara Raï, head of the Maronite Church, warned on Sunday against a “torpedoing” or a “postponement” of the legislative elections of May 15, because of the legal measures taken against the governor of the Bank of Lebanon. (BDL), Riad Salamé, his entourage and several banks, and called for an end to “partial, electoral and political judicial power”, as well as “attacks on banks”.

This warning is perceived by observers as implicitly targeting the Attorney General at the Court of Appeal of Mount Lebanon, Ghada Aoun, reputed to be close to the camp of the Head of State, Michel Aoun, and the party he has founded, the Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) of his son-in-law Gebran Bassil. Critics of the magistrate and Mr. Aoun say that this camp wants to restore its image before the legislative elections by surfing on the cause of depositors worried about their accounts blocked for more than two years. Others even see it as an escalation in view of a postponement of the ballot, the Aounist formation being in decline in popularity.

“biased judiciary”

“Where are the judges supposed to protect the judiciary?” asked the prelate in his Sunday homily, deploring the “sad state” of the judiciary. “Is the objective of these firm measures to torpedo the legislative elections or to prevent their organization on the scheduled dates?”, He worried. Bishop Raï again insisted that the ballot take place on May 15, and called on the next President of the Republic (President Aoun’s term of office ending in October, editor’s note), to “remove Lebanon from the axes”, assuring that the country “belongs to no one”, in an allusion to the pro-Iranian policy of Hezbollah, an ally of the Aounist camp, which is contested by several parts of the political class.

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“Isn’t it time for the night of partial, electoral and political judicial power to end?”, continued the head of the Maronite Church, also calling for “the suspension of the investigation into the murderous explosions at the port of Beirut comes to an end”. The investigation has, in fact, been blocked for months by several appeals against Judge Tarek Bitar, in charge of the case. “Shouldn’t the disrespect of the state end? And the attacks on essential institutions and banks too?”, he added, denouncing the fact that those responsible “continue to oppress the people, to prevent him from expressing himself, complaining and proclaiming his opposition”.

The prelate castigated, moreover, the inaction of officials and the persistence of the crises that have hit the country for more than two years. “Isn’t it time for the night of crises, hostilities and sedition to end?” He pleaded, denouncing “the lack of border control and security” in the country.

The proceedings initiated by magistrate Aoun divide the political class. The head of government, Nagib Mikati, had implicitly defended him. The Minister of the Interior, Bassam Maoulaoui, however accused the prosecutor on Sunday, without naming her, of “taking sides” and indirectly called on her to “drop the case” or that she be “relinquished”.

Cardinal Béchara Raï, head of the Maronite Church, warned on Sunday against a “torpedoing” or a “postponement” of the legislative elections of May 15, because of the legal measures taken against the governor of the Bank of Lebanon. (BDL), Riad Salamé, his entourage and several banks, and called for an end to “partial, electoral and political judicial power”, as well…

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