Jumblat Meets Franjieh in Bnashii on Monday

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Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat is scheduled to visit Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh in Bnashii on Monday as part of his efforts to convince the rival leaders to elect a compromise president.

Jumblat has so far met with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

He is also expected to visit Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

Al-Akhbar newspaper said that Monday’s meeting was preceded by talks between Jumblat’s son Taymour and Tony Franjieh, the son of the Marada chief, at the house of a member of the displaced fund, in Ehden.

The meeting was attended by several current and former cabinet ministers and lawmakers, and Marada and PSP officials, al-Akhbar added.

Jumblat has held onto the candidacy of Aley MP Henri Helou, a member of his parliamentary bloc, saying Lebanon needed a centrist compromise candidate for the presidency.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Michel Suleiman’s six-year term ended amid a failure by parliament to elect a successor over differences on a compromise candidate.

The March 14 alliance has backed the candidacy of Geagea. But the Hizbullah-led March 8 camp has not officially announced its support for Aoun, who has claimed that he would run for the presidency only if there was consensus on him.

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