Jumblat Says Presidential Vote Needs Cooperation with Hizbullah, Iran

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has said that the agreement on a consensual presidential candidate required an understanding between Iran and Saudi Arabia coupled with the cooperation of the rival parties with Hizbullah and its baker Tehran.

An official close to Jumblat told Addiyar daily that the PSP chief denied rumors that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun would be elected president if ex-PM Saad Hariri, who leads al-Mustaqbal movement, gave his consent.

“The presidential elections require a direct Iranian-Saudi understanding. Consequently it's not up to Saad Hariri to decide whether Aoun or anyone else would be elected,” the official quoted Jumblat as saying.

“We can't hold the polls without full coordination with Hizbullah and Iran,” he stated.

“It's not enough to bet on the Saudi-Iranian dialogue” because it's not clear “whether it could lead to results or not,” he added.

Addiyar also said that Jumblat, who is the head of the centrist National Struggle Front bloc, was pessimistic on the possibility to resolve the presidential deadlock soon.

“Who can guarantee that the vacuum won't be for long?” he asked.

Jumblat called for the election of a president through a similar settlement that led to the formation of the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam in February.

Jumblat has backed the candidacy of Aley MP Henri Helou, who in the first round of the elections, garnered the votes of the 16 centrist MPs.

Fifty-two lawmakers from the March 8 camp cast blank votes in the first round of the polls, while Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea received the votes of only 48 MPs.

But in the rounds that followed, the parliament again failed to elect a new president over the boycott of the March 8 coalition's MPs, who are insisting on a prior agreement on a consensual head of state.



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