Lebanon News

Jumblatt: My soul is in China until new Cabinet is formed

File - PSP leader Walid Jumblatt is seen in Beirut, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: In a sign of his frustration of the current political situation in Lebanon, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt joked Tuesday that he had been reincarnated and that his soul was in China.

“My soul was reincarnated before my death. My soul is currently in the body of someone living in China [and will continue to be so] until a breakthrough is achieved” in Lebanon’s political crisis, Jumblatt told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV.

Reincarnation is at the heart of Jumblatt’s Druze faith.

Jumblatt is mediating a solution to the Cabinet impasse, now in its 11th month. Signs emerged in January that Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam would finally be able to form a government after Jumblatt, the Future Movement and the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance agreed on an 8-8-8 Cabinet lineup and the rotation of key ministerial portfolios among sects. Under the 8-8-8 formula, the March 8 and March 14 coalitions and the centrists would each be granted eight ministerial portfolios.

But efforts to form the new government have hit a hurdle, with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun opposing the rotation.

Jumblatt expects that the civil war in neighboring Syria will drag on for years and voiced fears that the crisis there could spill over into Lebanon. Jumblatt has repeatedly called for Lebanon to be distanced from Syria’s ongoing crisis.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 12, 2014, on page 3.




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