Geagea Reassures Jumblat in Phone Call with Democratic Gathering MP

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has held phone talks with a member of MP Walid Jumblat's Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc, in which he told him that the LF does not approve of statements by some FPM officials who hinted that “there would be cooperation with other parties in the Druze community,” a media report said Wednesday.

Geagea stressed his keenness on the relation with Jumblat, reminding that he had led the 2001 reconciliation with Christians in Mount Lebanon, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted parliamentary sources as saying.

The leadership council of Jumblat's Progressive Socialist Party had held a meeting on Tuesday to mull the presidential choices ahead of a meeting for the Democratic Gathering that will be held later this week.

The Democratic Gathering comprises 11 MPs who are not all members of the PSP.

“Regardless of what the objections might be, making a sacrifice and a settlement for the sake of the future is more important than anything else,” Jumblat tweeted after Tuesday's meeting.

While Jumblat had announced his support for Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh's presidential nomination in the past, Geagea's support for FPM founder MP Michel Aoun's bid has played a key role in tipping the latter to become the country's next president.

Aoun was tipped to become president after al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri formally endorsed him on Thursday.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Hariri had launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Hizbullah's ally Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

Hariri's nomination of Franjieh prompted Geagea to back Aoun's presidential bid.

The supporters of Aoun's nomination have argued that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.

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