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Jumblatt to quit Parliament, make way for son

PSP leader Walid Jumblatt leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt, longtime politician and former warlord, announced in remarks published Thursday that he would refrain from running in the parliamentary elections, making way for his son, Taymour.

In an interview with Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party said: “My conscious is clear, and I will turn my political page because the [presidential election] might be the last I will vote in.

He said he was “seriously thinking” about refraining from running in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

“I will not run in the parliamentary elections. but I will continue my political life as an observer ... observing events of the world and traveling,” he said.

Jumblatt also said Taymour was preparing himself to take over his father’s parliamentary seat for the Chouf and handle the affairs of Mukhtara.

“This is not a retreat, but after 37 years since 1977 until this day, I had a rich experience that also includes black dots,” he said.

In the wide-ranging interview with the pan-Arab paper, Jumblatt spoke about Iran’s influence in Lebanon, saying Tehran would never abandon Hezbollah given its role in the Islamic Republic’s military structure.

Crac des Chevaliers “The influence of the Syrian regime along with Iran in Lebanon will become stronger, more than in any other phase, because the border between Lebanon and Syria has fallen into [the regime’s] hands after the defeat of the rebels from the Crac des Chevaliers to Yabroud. It has cordoned Lebanon,” he said.

Asked whether Hezbollah had succeeded in curbing the rise of car bombings in Lebanon, Jumblatt said: “Yes. Hezbollah and the regime were able to arrest people behind the car bombings in Yabroud.”

He also added that the Syrian regime might “use such a weapon” itself if necessary for political purposes.

Jumblatt reiterated that Hezbollah was part of a “military, political structure belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which he said put the decisionmaking authority in the hands of Tehran rather than the resistance group.

“People thought to direct speeches at Hezbollah and urge it to adopt the policy of disassociation. But the decision is not in Lebanon but Iran, which will not abandon this strategic profit and this link from Homs, the Mediterranean Sea and Iraq. Hezbollah is part of this,” he said.

Jumblatt also touched on Lebanon’s presidential election stalemate and said Iran and Hezbollah were two major voters in the poll.

“ Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic [of Iran] are two main and essential electors [in the presidential election],” Jumblatt said.

The PSP leader was referring to Iran and Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian crisis and said the two sides would invest any “strategic achievements” there in Lebanon’s election.

Jumblatt said that the balance of power in the Syria war, in which Hezbollah is fighting alongside the Syrian regime, was a key element that would affect a possible compromise on a new Lebanese president.

“There would be no vacuum, but a void in the presidential post until a settlement is reached within the new balance of power,” he said.

 

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Summary

MP Walid Jumblatt, longtime politician and former warlord, announced in remarks published Thursday that he would refrain from running in the parliamentary elections, making way for his son, Taymour.

In the wide-ranging interview with the pan-Arab paper, Jumblatt spoke about Iran's influence in Lebanon, saying Tehran would never abandon Hezbollah given its role in the Islamic Republic's military structure.

Jumblatt also touched on Lebanon's presidential election stalemate and said Iran and Hezbollah were two major voters in the poll.

The PSP leader was referring to Iran and Hezbollah's role in the Syrian crisis and said the two sides would invest any "strategic achievements" there in Lebanon's election.


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