Jumblat: I'll Tell Hariri We Won't Vote for Geagea or Aoun
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat announced Tuesday that he will soon inform al-Mustaqbal movement chief Saad Hariri that his Democratic Gathering bloc will neither vote for Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun nor for Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea in the presidential election.
“We're opposed to the election of Aoun as president and I will tell Saad Hariri if I met him that we will neither vote for Aoun nor for Geagea," Jumblat said in an interview on Al-Arabiya's Al-Hadath TV channel.
"Our support for (Democratic Gathering MP) Henri Helou in the presidential race is a support for moderation," Jumblat added.
"The key players (in the presidential race) are Hariri, (Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan) Nasrallah and the regional powers, while I'm seeking the election of Helou as president,” the PSP leader went on to say.
Asked about the presidential “initiative” announced Monday by Geagea, Jumblat said: “I have not read Geagea's initiative and I'm inclined to agree with Sayyed Hassan that we should not wait for the regional equations.”
“At the moment, no one cares about Lebanon's fate,” Jumblat added, referring to regional and international powers.
During a TV interview on Monday evening, Geagea had suggested that the March 8 and March 14 camps nominate two presidential candidates other than him and Aoun as an exit from the current presidential impasse.
Jumblat hoped the coming president would “continue the approach” of former president Michel Suleiman, noting that the ex-president had “set the groundwork for the state's authority over Hizbullah's arms through the Baabda Declaration.”
Describing “the theory of the strong president” as “wrong,” Jumblat stressed that “Lebanon needs a president of a strong state.”
In response to a question, the Druze leader said he does not see a prospect for tripartite power-sharing between Sunnis, Shiites and Christians in Lebanon, noting that the current equal power-sharing between Muslims and Christians “was reiterated by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.”
He also noted that holding parliamentary elections amid the ongoing presidential vacuum would represent a “precedent” in Lebanon's history.
Turning to the Syrian affairs, Jumblat said “there is a new strategic passage aimed at linking Iran to the (Mediterranean) Sea and it won't give up the achievement of reaching the Mediterranean through the control over (the central Syrian region of) Homs.”
“The Syrian regime has only the capability to assassinate … There had been a state in Syria, but (President) Bashar Assad has turned it into a gang that practices hegemony over the people,” Jumblat added.
“The Syrian regime is killing its people and it is a shame for the Druze of Syria to stand by someone who is killing his own people,” the Druze leader added, reiterating that the presidential vote that granted Assad a third term in office was a “farce.”
Late Syrian president “Hafez Assad preserved the Arab identity of Syria and it was not subservient to Iran, but with Bashar, the Arab Syria has ended,” Jumblat added.
Jumblat also described as a “joke” a recent call by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for Russia, Iran and Hizbullah to help end the Syrian war.
“Ethically, Nasrallah cannot label half the Syrian people as takfiris,” Jumblat added.
Asked whether he sees a possibility for the renewal of civil strife in Lebanon, the PSP leader said “a historic moment might come when Hizbullah accepts to integrate into the state and the state would then decide on the issues of war and peace.”
“We must live with this issue without incitement,” Jumblat added.