High-Level FPM Delegation Meets Jumblat over Presidential Vote

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A high-level Free Patriotic Movement delegation visited MP Walid Jumblat on Monday at his Clemenceau residence, on the eve of the first round of the presidential election.

The delegation comprised Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab and MP Naji Gharios. The envoys declined to make a statement after the meeting.

“The conferees discussed the presidential issue and the (parliamentary) session that will be held Wednesday to elect a new president,” state-run National News Agency said.

On Jumblat’s side, the meeting was attended by Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, MP Alaeddine Terro and Progressive Socialist Party officials Zafer Nasser and Rami al-Rayyes.

OTV, the FPM’s mouthpiece, said the delegation did not ask Jumblat to vote for FPM leader MP Michel Aoun, who has said he will only run for office if there is “consensus” over his nomination.

Jumblat had earlier met on Monday with a Lebanese Forces delegation led by MP Sethrida Geagea, who handed him a copy of LF chief Samir Geagea’s presidential program.

Jumblat confirmed after the talks that he will attend Wednesday’s parliamentary session, saying however that he will declare his stance on the polls on Tuesday. OTV revealed later that Jumblat’s National Struggle Front will convene tomorrow at 5:30 pm to discuss the presidential elections.

In remarks published in al-Joumhouria newspaper on Saturday, Jumblat ruled out the possibility of nominating MPs Henri Helou or Fouad al-Saad for the presidency, expressing his preference for a candidate with clear a presidential program, especially one that focuses on social and economic issues.

“I cannot vote for a ghost,” he said.

Geagea is the only political leader to so far announce his nomination for the elections.

Parliament is scheduled to convene on Wednesday in order to hold the polls amid concerns that the needed quorum will not be met.

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