In his latest address to the Lebanese people, President Michel Aoun admitted the need to “develop, modify, and change the system” in Lebanon.
“I call for the proclamation of Lebanon as a secular state,” said Aoun in the Sunday televised speech, ahead of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Greater Lebanon by the French Mandate.
Such a deep change to the system that has been the standard in Lebanon for decades would be the only way to protect and preserve pluralism and create real unity, the President indicated.
A secular state has been a major demand for a large portion of the Lebanese people, especially among the young generation.
This has been most recently prevalent throughout the October 17th uprising and in the chants and slogans used in the continuous protests that followed since then.
During the speech, Aoun, who has been criticized by protesters for lacking a connection with Lebanon’s young force, addressed his country’s youth.
“Lebanon’s youth are calling for change … for them and for their future,” he said, agreeing that “the time has come” for this change to take place.
“There is a need to develop, modify, and change the system.”
He went on to call for “a dialogue that includes spiritual authorities and political leaders, in order to reach a formula acceptable to all, and that will be translated with appropriate constitutional amendments.”
By Monday afternoon, the Lebanese Parliament will have designated a new prime minister – if the binding parliamentary consultations go as planned – to form a new government to replace the current caretaker one.
The consultations are taking place a day prior to French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Lebanon to push for reforms and change in the collapsing country.