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Lebanon News

Jumblatt offers presidential compromise

Jumblatt warned of the growing dangers on Lebanon of the fast-moving events in Syria, Iraq and the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt has presented a compromise to end the deadlock over the presidential election, offering to withdraw the nomination of MP Henry Helou.

“I don’t mind ... withdrawing the nomination of [Democratic Gathering bloc] MP Henry Helou if the others withdraw their candidates to facilitate a settlement that would end the presidential vacuum,” Jumblatt said in remarks published Tuesday.

He urged the various political leaders to put national interests above their own.

“We should seek to fortify the country politically through putting national interests above all else and this translates into speedy concessions by everyone, all the way to the election of a consensus president who can manage the crisis,” Jumblatt told the local daily As-Safir.

He warned of the growing dangers on Lebanon of the fast-moving events in Syria, Iraq and recently the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended May 25 with MPs botching several attempts at electing a new president over lack of consensus.

While Jumblatt has supported Helou, from his parliamentary bloc, for the presidency, March 14 MPs have backed Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

March 8 lawmakers have boycotted the election sessions, refusing to attend until a consensus candidate is agreed upon by the political parties. Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun is widely viewed as the March 8 candidate, though he has refused to announce his candidacy unless the parties agree on him as a consensus candidate.

 

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