Lebanese president calls for creation of “secular state”

Lebanon has been witnessing nationwide protests since Oct. 17 which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government while President Michel Aoun has so far failed to hold parliamentary consultations for naming a new prime minister tasked with the formation of a cabinet capable of dealing with the current financial crisis.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on Sunday for the formation of a “secular state” in Lebanon to rescue the country from confessionalism, the National News Agency reported.

“There is a need to develop, modify, and change the system…call it the way you like; but most certainly, Lebanon needs a new conception in running its affairs, based on citizenry and on the secularism of the state,” Aoun said in a televised speech on the occasion of the Centenary of Greater Lebanon.

Aoun said that Lebanon and the Lebanese deserve, after a long suffering, a state where merit is the criterion, and law is the guarantor of the rights of all equally, and where the fundamental belonging is to the nation and not to the leaders of the confessions.

“I believe that only the secular state is capable of protecting and preserving pluralism and turning it into a real unity, I call for the proclamation of Lebanon as a secular state,” he said.

Lebanese authorities have been incapable, over the past few years, to agree on proper reforms to be implemented in the interest of the country, due to the division of power in a system that distributes roles and positions based on sects. This has prompted the Lebanese to start a nationwide protest on Oct. 17 of last year to demand for a change in the system and the whole ruling class.