Jumblat Calls for Political Settlement, President Election after al-Qaa Blasts
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat stressed Tuesday the importance of reaching a “political settlement” among the country's rival parties, a day after eight suicide bombers targeted the Bekaa border town of al-Qaa in an unprecedented attack.
“I salute the medic Boulos al-Ahmar who was martyred while performing his duty to the fullest in the face of the terrorism that hit al-Qaa,” said Jumblat on Twitter.
“I also salute all the martyrs, those who were wounded in the terrorist attack, and the residents of this steadfast, defiant town,” he added.
Addressing politicians, Jumblat warned that “it's high time to end the current political bickering and the exchange of accusations that will not achieve any result.”
“Let the mission be focused on immunizing the army and the security forces and on laying out an austerity policy seeing as we have crossed the red lines,” he urged.
“Let us elect a president at any cost and avoid holding the June 2017 parliamentary elections under the 1960 electoral law, because in the absence of a president this government will stay in power and act in caretaker capacity and that would be a major disaster,” Jumblat warned.
“The most important thing in politics is accepting the principle of making a settlement, even if it might initially seem to be bitter,” he added.
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, the Free Patriotic Movement and some of their allies have been boycotting the electoral sessions at parliament, stripping them of the needed quorum.
Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Iran-backed Hizbullah.
Hariri's move was followed by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's endorsement of his long-time Christian foe, FPM founder MP Michel Aoun, for the presidency after a rapprochement deal was reached between their two parties.
The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue 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.