Michel Aoun in 2019 - Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP
President Michel Aoun said on Sunday that "the time for change" had come, calling for the proclamation of a "secular state" in Lebanon, on the eve of the visit of French head of state Emmanuel Macron who is pressing for reform of the system confessional. "Because I am convinced that only a secular state is capable of protecting pluralism, of preserving it by transforming it into real unity, I ask that Lebanon be declared a secular state", he declared in a speech to the occasion of the centenary of Lebanon.
He pledged to "call for dialogue between religious authorities and political leaders in order to arrive at a formula acceptable to all and which can be implemented through appropriate constitutional amendments." While he is shouted at by the protest movement, the head of state admitted that "Lebanese youth are calling for change", adding that "the time has come" to modify the political system.
The French president visits the country on Monday
Emmanuel Macron, the first head of state to visit Lebanon after the deadly explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4 for which the political class is held responsible, had urged Lebanese political leaders to undertake vital political reforms. The French president, expected again Monday evening in Beirut, spoke on Friday of the "constraints of a denominational system" which led "to a situation where there is hardly any (political) renewal and where there is almost an impossibility of carrying out reforms ”.
The leader of the powerful pro-Iranian Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, allied with the presidential party, the Free Patriotic Current, announced on Sunday that his party was ready to discuss a new "political pact" in Lebanon, where the various religious communities are divided. power.
Michel Aoun recognized that the confessional system "has become an obstacle to any development (..), to any reform and any fight against corruption" and that it is even "a generator of conflicts".
Explosions in Beirut: "If we let go of Lebanon, it will be civil war", warns Macron
Lebanon: More than half of the population at risk of food shortage by end of 2020, UN says
- Emmanuel Macron