PSP leader Walid Jumblatt, right, listens as MP Henri Helou speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Even the Kataeb Party, which was widely expected to nominate its leader, former President Amin Gemayel, for the presidency, decided after a meeting Tuesday to attend the session and vote for Geagea.In the first round of voting, Geagea is expected to garner the votes of around 50 MPs, well below the 86 votes that are required to win the presidency. The rival Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition has not named its own candidate –widely expected to be Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun – opting instead to cast blank ballots during Wednesday's session. The decision to cast blank ballots was made following meetings held by the parliamentary blocs of Speaker Nabih Berri and Aoun. Centrist lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Najib Mikati and MPs from Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt's parliamentary bloc, will either cast blank ballots or vote for MP Henry Helou, who has been nominated by Jumblatt's bloc.Aoun has said he would only run for the presidency as a "consensus candidate".In a clear sign Gemayel would not enter the presidential race at this stage as announced last week, MP Elie Marouni said after a party meeting chaired by Gemayel that Kataeb lawmakers would attend the legislative session and vote for Geagea.
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