Jumblat proposes Chibli, says time for unconventional names


Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has said "it is time to get out of the shell of traditional names" and to elect a consensual and not a confrontational president.

In an interview published in Kuwait's al-Qabas newspaper on Thursday, Jumblat suggested the name of Lebanese international lawyer Chibli Mallat, and re-mentioned International Monetary Fund official and ex-minister Jihad Azour.

He said that both Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh and MP Michel Mouawad are confrontational. "Can Lebanese parties continue with their confrontational approach when there is a political climate of consensus in the region," Jumblat wondered.

"There is a regional dialogue that is bigger than (Parliament Speaker Nabih) Berri and myself, shouldn't we benefit from it," Jumblat asked.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since Michel Aoun's mandate expired last year. Parliament had failed in 11 sessions to elect a new president and Berri hasn't called for a new election session since January, saying that no breakthrough to the deadlock appears likely. He had months ago called for a national dialogue that Christian parties rejected.

"Will we remain stubborn in the time of dialogue, normalization and the return of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran," Jumblat said, as he called again for consensus.

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