Lebanon News

Jumblatt backs Helou: 'This is democracy'

PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has renewed his support for MP Henry Helou, a member of his own bloc, as a consensus candidate for the Lebanese presidency.

“We will not withdraw our candidate in favor of others, whatever the equations and agreements,” Jumblatt told Egypt’s newspaper Al-Ahram in remarks published Thursday. “This is democracy."

Jumblatt also criticized the idea that a Lebanese presidential candidate should seek the blessing of Bashar Assad.

“We decide,” he insisted, in a clear response to Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh.

Frangieh said in a Wednesday interview that a new Lebanese president required Assad’s blessing.

Jumblatt, who is in Paris on a weeklong trip, is expected to discuss the presidential election stalemate with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday.

Lebanon has been without a president since former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended May 25, with lawmakers unable to pick his successor over lack of consensu.





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