Lebanon News

Jumblatt, Frangieh meet over presidential stalemate

Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, right, receives MP Walid Jumblatt in the northern town of Bneshaai, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt is holding talks with Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, as part of the Progressive Socialist Party chief's efforts to break the political deadlock over the presidential election.

Accompanied by his son, Taymour, Jumblatt arrived at Frangieh's residence in the northern town of Bneshaai around noon.

The PSP leader has held talks in the past few weeks with several officials, including Speaker Nabih Berri, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and MP Michel Aoun, the March 8 coalition's undeclared presidential candidate.

On Saturday, Jumblatt called for the election of a "compromise candidate."

He has repeatedly reiterated support for his own party’s candidate, MP Henry Helou, while stressing that no consensus has been reached over a new president.

Despite the fact that Helou has only received 16 votes in Parliament, Jumblatt described him as "a model for moderation."

The March 14 coalition has nominated Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for the country's highest Christian post, but neither Geagea, Helou or Aoun have any chance of gaining the needed majority of votes to be elected.

Earlier this week, Nasrallah advised various groups to address Aoun directly when it comes to the presidency, adding that Lebanon must not wait for external interference to elect a new head of state. Without naming him, the Hezbollah chief said March 8 support for Aoun remained the same.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Sleiman ended in May, with more than 10 attempted sessions to elect a successor failing over lack of quorum.





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