Progressive socialist party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said Tuesday that he will inform former Prime Minister and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri during their upcoming meeting of his opposition to the presidential candidacies of both FPM leader MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.
“I will tell former Prime Minister Saad Hariri that I will not vote for either Michel Aoun or Samir Geagea,” Jumblatt who wields a critical swing vote in Lebanon parliament told told Al-Arabiya during an interview.
According to local reports preparations are already underway to arrange for the meeting between Hariri and Jumblatt to be held soon in Paris, France.
While no date has reportedly been set for the Paris meeting, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour a key member of Jumblatt’s parliamentary bloc said recently that there was nothing that could prevent the two leaders from meeting, given the political relationship and personal friendship between them.
Jumblatt made it clear during the interview that he will not pull out his candidate (Henri Helou) of the presidential race even if an agreement was reached between Hariri and Aoun.
Jumblatt told Al-Arabiya that he hopes that the coming president would follow in the footsteps of former President Michel Suleiman, who he said established the foundation of the state in the Baabda Declaration, seen as the former president’s most renowned achievement.
The declaration, signed by rival groups in 2012 during a Dialogue session chaired by Suleiman, stipulates that Lebanon should distance itself from regional turmoil, especially the crisis in Syria.
Yesterday the Lebanese parliament failed for the sixth time in a row to hold a session to elect the country’s new president to replace Suleiman whose terms ended on May 25.
As in the previous sessions , the vote could not be held as lawmakers allied with the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group boycotted the voting for lack of agreement on a consensus president.
There are serious concerns that a prolonged vacuum at the Baabda presidential place would affect Lebanon’s power-sharing system under which the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Muslim Shiite and the PM a Muslim Sunni.
After Geagea secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including Aoun and Franjieh walked out from the parliament to make sure there was no quorum to elect a president. They continued their boycott of the parliament during the 5 other sessions that followed .
Aoun has not announced his candidacy but he aspires to become a consensual nominee and has reportedly been waiting for Hariri to back him , but so far the Future Movement leader along with his March 14 allies is sticking with Geagea.
Geagea challenged Aoun to run against him or move on to plan B which calls for agreeing on a consensual candidate , Lebanese media reported last month.
Addressing the crisis in Syria, Jumblatt, a staunch critic of President Bashar Assad, said the Syrian regime was only capable of assassinating.”
“In Syria, there was a state and Bashar Assad turned it into a mob governing the people,” the Druze leader said and added “It is a disgrace for Syrian Druze to support someone who is killing his own people.”