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Helou: No president can control Hezbollah arms

  • 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)

BEIRUT: The next president of Lebanon will not be able to control or eliminate Hezbollah's arms, presidential candidate MP Henri Helou said in remarks published Monday.

“Can any candidate, and I do not mean [Lebanese Forces leader] Samir Geagea specifically, do anything about Hezbollah’s weapons or about Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria?” Helou said in an interview to An-Nahar daily.

“Of course we can talk about this issue, but in depth the matter is bigger than [Lebanon] and it is related to the fate of the region and [political] equations,” Helou said.

“On the other hand, there are urgent issues that we can discuss and reach solutions for, such as the economic and living conditions for the Lebanese,” he said.

Helou, from MP Walid Jumblatt's bloc, said that electing a new head of state requires consensus among rival parties.

Helou also said that no candidate from the March 8 or the March 14 coalition could not become president because of the deep polarization in the country.

“A large part of the Lebanese public which belongs to the opposing party would reject him," he said.

Last week, Parliament failed to vote in a successor for President Michel Sleiman, whose term ends on May 25.

Besides Helou, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, the first to publicly announce his candidacy, gained 48 out of 128 votes against 52 blank ballots cast by most of the March 8 coalition’s MPs while one vote went for Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel.

In his presidential campaign platform, Geagea said that if elected, he would work towards restoring the state monopoly over arms.

Another Parliament session is scheduled in two days to elect a new president.

 
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Summary

The next president of Lebanon will not be able to control or eliminate Hezbollah's arms, presidential candidate MP Henri Helou said in remarks published Monday.

Besides Helou, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, the first to publicly announce his candidacy, gained 48 out of 128 votes against 52 blank ballots cast by most of the March 8 coalition's MPs while one vote went for Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel.

Another Parliament session is scheduled in two days to elect a new president.


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