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.