Jumblat Applauds 'Iran's Democracy,' Wonders if it Will Allow Lebanese Elections to Be Held
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat expressed on Wednesday “admiration with the democracy in Iran,” citing the recent exclusion of the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from contesting elections next month.
The MP said via Twitter: “Given its 'democratic' record, perhaps Iran does not want the election of any MPs Henri Helou, Suleiman Franjieh, or Michel Aoun as president.”
“It is strange that Khomeini's son is unwanted, but this is democracy in its highest form in the Islamic Republic,” he added sarcastically.
“At this rate, what is the authority that chooses – pardon, I mean elects - the president in Lebanon?” wondered the MP.
Perhaps it does not want to elect any of the Lebanese candidates, he noted, “but this is also a democratic choice based on the Iranian way.”
Hassan Khomeini, a 43-year-old cleric with close ties to reformists, was not verified as having sufficient religious competence by the Guardian Council, his son Ahmad said on his Instagram account, despite "testimony from dozens of religious authorities".
Khomeini had hoped to be a candidate for election to the Assembly of Experts, a powerful group of clerics which monitors the work of Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and will be responsible for selecting his successor.
Jumblat continued: “I stipulated that the president should not be a state employee, meaning that the army commander has been ruled out and he doesn't even want the post.”
“The Democratic Gathering reminded the public last week that Helou enjoys Christian and national credibility. They were not impressed by this, but this is our democratic opinion,” he tweeted.
“It seems however some characteristics are still missing, which means that a president will not be elected at the moment. I don't know what this missing factor is,” he remarked.
“At any rate, it appears that Lebanon's national dialogue has started to resemble Iran's council for diagnosing the regime,” the lawmaker said of the talks that were held at Speaker Nabih Berri's Ain el-Tineh residence in his absence.
“The password to ending the presidential impasse is in the hands of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” he added sarcastically.
Some of the MP's Twitter followers criticized his absence from the dialogue table, asking him “if his failure to attend was also a form of democracy.”
Jumblat's Democratic Gathering last week re-endorsed Helou as its candidate for the presidential elections.
He is running alongside Change and Reform bloc leader MP Aoun and Marada Movement chief MP Franjieh.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014.
Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.
A number of officials have said that any progress in ending the deadlock hinges on a breakthrough in regional developments.