Jumblat Declares Reunion of Democratic Gathering, Nominates Helou for Presidency

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Tuesday announced the revival of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc and the nomination of its member MP Henri Helou for the presidency, one day before a parliamentary session aimed at voting for a new president.

“The Democratic Gathering has been revived with all its members and we're one family again,” Jumblat said after a meeting in Clemenceau.

“The Democratic Gathering nominates Mr. Henri Helou for the presidency,” he added.

“We are proud to announce this nomination and we will never cast a blank vote. We pride ourselves with this unifying candidate whose openness and moderation are well-known,” said Jumblat.

He pointed out that “Helou has his Christian representation," stressing that "this nomination is not aimed at maneuvering."

Revealing that Helou's presidential program would be based on the Baabda Declaration, Jumblat stated: “I emphasize on the approach that was established by President Michel Suleiman, which is the Baabda Declaration.”

Reminiscing the period that witnessed Suleiman's election as president, Jumblat said: “Arab and international circumstances had helped us in 2008 to make a settlement and we had the best political and personal ties with President Suleiman and we cannot but salute him.”

“We all took part in dialogue and laid out the groundwork on which we can build a strong and capable state, in which the decision of war and peace is in the hand of the state, and I mean the Baabda Declaration which was approved by everyone,” Jumblat added.

“I salute ex-PM Najib Miqati, with whom we took part in a cabinet that was described as Hizbullah's government, but we managed to impose a certain centrist policy, which has produced Suleiman and Miqati,” he went on to say.

Hitting out at Hizbullah, Jumblat said: “I wish they had implemented the self-dissociation policy as we would've spared the country the booby-trapped cars.”

In January 2011, Jumblat had announced the split of the Democratic Gathering bloc after four MPs broke away from it in protest at his decision to nominate Miqati for the premiership. He announced back then the formation of the seven-member National Struggle Front.

The four MPs who withdrew after they nominated ex-PM Saad Hariri were Marwan Hamadeh, Antoine Saad and Fouad al-Saad, in addition to Helou.

But Helou later decided to join the National Struggle Front and was among the ranks of the Jumblat bloc that supported the nomination of Tammam Salam for the premiership.

“We are seeking openness towards everyone and I have an ambition to restore dialogue and partnership among everyone,” said Helou during Tuesday's press conference.

“A strong president is one who can gather all Lebanese around the dialogue table and this is the approach adopted by Walid Beik's and the starting point for the coming period,” he added.

“My nomination is not a maneuver and we have no solution other than openness. We call on everyone to take part in tomorrow's electoral session so that we can return to the approach of dialogue,” the presidential candidate went on to say.

He noted that candidates are not important, “but rather the rescuing of the country.”

“I'm not interested in the post but rather in rescuing the country and the approach of openness and moderation,” Helou underlined.

“A strong president would be one who can gather the Lebanese, not a confrontational president; a president who can talk to all the Lebanese, not half of them,” he said.

President Suleiman's tenure ends on May 25, but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state began on March 25.

Helou and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea are so far the only two candidates who have announced official nominations.

The parliament is scheduled to convene Wednesday for the first round of voting amid concerns that the needed quorum will not be met.



Comments 16
Thumb jabal10452 22 April 2014, 19:07

“We all took part in dialogue and laid out the groundwork on which we can build a strong and capable state, in which the decision of war and peace is in the hand of the state, and I mean the Baabda Declaration which was approved by everyone,”

See, Walid, HA is allergic to this kind of talk. Thus, Henri's nomination will be dead on arrival.

Thumb jabal10452 22 April 2014, 19:13

See I have my rare moments pure genius :-)
btw, I'm not the one who voted you down. I'm a sport :-))

Missing -samy 22 April 2014, 21:58

and I would take FT over Aoun

Thumb liberty 23 April 2014, 07:52

so junblatt gets to pick who the christian and the lebanese president will be.

Thumb ex-fpm 22 April 2014, 19:24

Seriously this country is a joke and its sad state of affairs is regrettable. On the eve of the Presidential elections, Jumblatt miraculously unifies his old block and announces a Christian Presidential candidate. just to sabotage Geagea's nomination. Who do these people think they are fooling?! Did he get a big lump sum from Iran to go ahead and come up with this move... beyond me.

Thumb cedre 22 April 2014, 20:21

not sure about kattar, baroud or kawaji, but for the rest, u're probably right...

Thumb cedre 22 April 2014, 20:25

Texas, west gave legitimacy to bashar since beginning by calling him a defender of minorities and women rights while depicting all rebels as islamists... The day US will stop rebels embargo, Bashar will leave alone knowing he wont resist despite his khomenist mercenaries...

Missing bigjohn 22 April 2014, 20:32

Cedre...Please name ONE ARMED brigade out of over a thousand brigades in the armed Syrian oppostion that is secular. Please just one!

Missing bigjohn 22 April 2014, 20:37

Neither M14 or M8 have a majority in parliament so the president will be a "Centrist". Helou said that he will represent ALL of Lebanon not half and he will not be "confrontational". He may be the next president.

Missing bigjohn 22 April 2014, 20:50

I think they are not happy with the named candidates. But, they ARE attending tomorrow so you will have two third present. But, you will not have 65 votes. After that, there will be negotiations and if they feel confrotable with him, they may elect him. If they do, he will have the 65 votes left and become president. The "centrists" do not want Gaegae so he can not win. Helou has a good chance.

Missing bigjohn 22 April 2014, 21:07

M11er..1) Just because he is with Baabda declaration (like Jumblat) does not make him an enemy of HA amd M8. The Baabda declaration is not everything. He is still a "centrist".

2.. problem with Aoun is that he strongly denounced the "Centrists" more than HA or Amal ever did. Just like the centrist will not pick Geagae, they will not pick Aoun.

I am only saying that he has a good chance.

Missing bigjohn 22 April 2014, 21:01

veritas1...Secular groups DO NOT use Islamist names! The top leaders of the regime are Alewites, but the majority of the armed forces are not Alewi, but combined...other minorities and Sunnis. The ARMED opposition is over 99.9% Sunni Islamists. If you ever been to Aleppo, you would have been told that almost all the Baathists are Sunnis or Christians (Alewites in Aleppo make up a fraction of 1 percent).

Missing -samy 22 April 2014, 21:09

I hope so. But the history of Lebanon suggests that at anytime, there is at least a portion of lebanese implementing foreign agendas.

Missing coolmec 22 April 2014, 21:38

I soooo agree with you I hope one of these 2 will be elected. Time for a change for a better change I might add

Thumb cedre 22 April 2014, 23:25

texas, dont be fooled by few TOWs and diplomatic maneuvers, US have been backing Assads for 40 years...

Thumb cedre 23 April 2014, 00:18

texas, lets say u're fighting with a guy that has a sword. And I give u a stick, did I help u really or just in appearence ?
US will not let rebels win by the embargo, but will not let them lose... US are extending the war, ie Syria's destruction.
It's called bait and bleed strategy, they did the same with Iraq-Iran