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jumblatt helouProgressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt announced on Tuesday that he is backing PSP parliamentarian Henri Helou in the presidential election that starts on April 23, following a meeting of PSP officials

“I am proud to present a candidate of dialogue, moderation, and consensus with an open political legacy,” Jumblatt said .

The PSP leader revealed that he had informed the Lebanese Forces and the Change and Reform bloc of the identity of his candidate on Monday, following a meeting with their delegations.

Jumblatt expressed his opposition to casting a blank vote.

The Change and Reform bloc which is headed by MP Michel Aoun announced that it would attend the voting session, but will cast a blank ballot.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geaegea launched his presidential election campaign last Wednesday during a press conference at his Maarab residence, in which he called for a strong state and vowed to abide by the constitution and the country’s laws and promised many economic and social reforms if he was elected president.

In a related development former PM Mikati announced on Tuesday that he has agreed with MP Ahmed Karami to endorse Helou’s presidential bid.

On the other hand LBCI reported that Tripoli MP Mohammed Safadi will take part in tomorrow’s electoral session in line with the constitution and “will vote as his conscience obligates him to do, while taking into account the sensitivities in Tripoli.”

All the 3 Mikati, Karami, Safadi, Jumblatt and all his MPs were elected by March 4 voters in the 2009 election, but they defected later and became part of the centrist bloc.

According to analysts it is not clear what Helou will bring to the table , other than being a member of Jumblatt’s parliamentary bloc . Little is known about him , other than being the son of the late minister and member of parliament Pierre Helou.

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