BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Jumblatt says commonalities with Hariri trump differences

Hariri and Jumblatt held talks in Paris. (The Daily Star/Dalati&Nohra,HO)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, on a visit to France, said his political ties with the Hariri family override any differences between them.

Jumblatt’s remarks came following a meeting and dinner late Tuesday with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the latter's Paris residence.

“An atmosphere of intimacy, friendship and brotherhood characterized the meeting, during which MP Jumblatt stressed that the [Jumblatt-Hariri] path of struggle as well as his political and friendly ties with the Hariri family remain above their differences,” a PSP statement said.

“This relationship, which dates back to the era of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and continued with Saad Hariri, has been characterized by a lengthy and major struggle for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon and the establishment of the International Tribunal to achieve justice,” the statement quoted Jumblatt as telling Hariri.

 

The statement said the two men discussed various domestic issues, adding that “their views largely matched.”

 

It said Hariri and Jumblatt also touched on Arab and regional issues, agreeing on the necessity to support the Syrian uprising “in any way possible, because it reflects the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom, dignity and democracy and rejects the rule of oppression and tyranny.”

 

 

 

The long-awaited public sector salary increase was also discussed during the Paris meet where Jumblatt said that approval of the pay scale would backfire “if it was adopted without engaging in a meaningful administrative reform [plan] and securing the necessary financial revenues,” the PSP said.

 

A possible parliamentary alliance between Jumblatt and the Future Movement-led March 14 coalition was not discussed.

 

Future MP Ahmad Fatfat told The Daily Star Tuesday that it was “still too early to talk about the 2013 polls but it is known that both Hariri and Jumblatt have recently criticized the [draft electoral law based on] proportional representation.”

 

President Michel Sleiman signed the draft law electoral over the weekend, which was approved by the Cabinet in August.

 

 

 

While Hariri and Jumblatt both see eye-to-eye with regards to the 17-month-old unrest in Syria, they differ on the resignation of the March 8-led Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government, which has come under attack from Hariri and his allies in the March 14 coalition.

 

“Jumblatt had made it clear among his circles that he intends to ally with the March 14 coalition during the upcoming elections,” a PSP source told The Daily Star.

 

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