BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt said Friday his party’s nominee, Henry Helou, could be an acceptable compromise candidate, opposing the candidacies of long-time rivals Samir Geagea and MP Michel Aoun.
“There must be regional and local compromises and I think that this compromise is Henry Helou,” Jumblatt told Al-Manar television station.
“I stand firm on my position to reject the candidacy of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and the undeclared candidacy of MP Michel Aoun,” he added.
Although he did not express fear over the possibility of a presidential vacuum in Lebanon, Jumblatt said the country's economy and security would be better off with a president.
With no candidate, including Geagea and Aoun, capable of garnering the required majority to win the presidency, as well as a lack of agreement on a consensus figure, Lebanon is poised to plunge into a presidential vacuum.
President Michel Sleiman’s six-year term ends on May 25.
Jumblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, also said that the government was capable and ready to take over the presidency’s prerogative in case of a vacuum.
The lawmaker also spoke about Liberation Day, the commemoration of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, saying Hezbollah should be under the authority of the state.
“Liberation Day in 2000 was a national day and the cumulative effort of resistance groups in Beirut, the south and Mount Lebanon,” he said.
“We cannot abandon the resistance but it must be part of the state to increase the latter's capabilities,” he said.
Jumblatt has repeatedly voiced his support for a national defense strategy that would incorporate Hezbollah’s arms under the supervision of the Lebanese Army.