Jumblat Won't Withdraw Helou's Nomination: Time Has Proven Need for his Candidacy

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat denied on Wednesday media reports that claimed that his Democratic Gathering bloc was willing to withdraw the presidential nomination of MP Henri Helou, deeming such reports as “inaccurate”.

He said in a statement: “Local and regional developments have demonstrated that we need to commit to this nomination now more than ever.”

“The nomination may represent the only solution to end the presidential deadlock given the severe division in Lebanon,” he noted.

“The Democratic Gathering believes that Helou's nomination represents the line of moderation, consensus, and dialogue,” added the MP.

“It is supposed to help produce political solutions, especially in light of the ongoing Syrian war and the involvement of Lebanese powers in it,” Jumblat stressed.

He highlighted the need to adhere to the Baabda Declaration and Lebanon's policy of disassociation from regional conflicts.

The PSP chief therefore called on the political powers, “who appear to be prisoners of their own mental or illusory prisons, to exit those jails and head to parliament to allow democracy to play its role and elect a new president.”

Jumblat had told As Safir newspaper on Tuesday that he was ready to pull Helou's candidacy if the other candidates decided to do so in an attempt to resolve the country's presidential deadlock.

He remarked: “We should seek to safeguard the country by placing the nation's interest before any other.”

“This would materialize by speedy concessions made by everyone and through the election of a compromise president who is capable of managing the crisis,” he said.

“In this case, I don't mind to pull the candidacy of Helou if the others do the same to facilitate an agreement that would end the vacuum,” the PSP chief added.

Lebanon's top Christian post was left vacant on May 25 when President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended amid a failure by the rival March 8 and 14 alliances to find a successor over their dispute on a compromise candidate.

Jumblat has backed the candidacy of Aley MP Helou, saying Lebanon needs a centrist president.

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