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Jumblatt: I will not vote for Geagea, Aoun

In this picture taken on May 28, 2014, Walid Jumblatt, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druse sect, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press as he sits in his garden house in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt will inform former Prime Minister Saad Hariri of his opposition to the presidential candidacies of both MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, the lawmaker said Tuesday.

“I will tell [former] Prime Minister Saad Hariri that I will not vote for Michel Aoun or Samir Geagea,” Jumblatt told Al-Arabiya in an interview.

While rejecting Aoun’s candidacy outright, Jumblatt said he made it clear he supports moderation via his party's nomination of one of their own, MP Henry Helou.

The head of the Progressive Socialist Party also said that it would be a precedent for Lebanon if the parliamentary elections scheduled for November were held amid a presidential vacuum.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 25, as lawmakers remain deadlocked and unable to agree on a consensus candidate.

Aoun has reportedly been waiting for Hariri to endorse his presidency but the Future bloc and the March 14 coalition have repeatedly said that Geagea was their only candidate for the country's top post.

Aoun, a former Army general, has been the March 8 coalition's undeclared candidate.

Jumblatt said he hoped that the coming president would follow the footsteps of former President Michel Sleiman, who he said established the foundation of the state in the Baabda Declaration, seen as the former president’s most renowned achievement.

The declaration, signed by rival groups in 2012 during a Dialogue session chaired by Sleiman, stipulates that Lebanon should remain at a distance from regional turmoil, especially the crisis in Syria.

Jumblatt also commented on the recent controversy with regards to the tripartite power-sharing, saying that both Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah Chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah have confirmed their support of the equal distribution of power between Muslims and Christians.

Last week, Nasrallah denied what he said were allegations against Hezbollah that the party was seeking to establish a new formula that divides power between Shiites, Sunnis and Christians, replacing the equal power-sharing set out in the Taif Accord.

Speaking on the crisis in Syria, Jumblatt, a staunch critic of President Bashar Assad, said the Syrian regime was only capable of assassinating."

"In Syria, there was a state and Bashar Assad turned it into a mob governing the people," he said.

"It is a disgrace for Syrian Druze to support someone who is killing his people."

 

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Summary

MP Walid Jumblatt will inform former Prime Minister Saad Hariri of his opposition to the presidential candidacies of both MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, the lawmaker said Tuesday.

Aoun, a former Army general, has been the March 8 coalition's undeclared candidate.

Jumblatt said he hoped that the coming president would follow the footsteps of former President Michel Sleiman, who he said established the foundation of the state in the Baabda Declaration, seen as the former president's most renowned achievement.

Speaking on the crisis in Syria, Jumblatt, a staunch critic of President Bashar Assad, said the Syrian regime was only capable of assassinating".


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