Jumblatt presidential initiative will lead Moawad to withdraw candidacy

Press Highlights
2023-02-02 | 02:32
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Jumblatt presidential initiative will lead Moawad to withdraw candidacy
Jumblatt presidential initiative will lead Moawad to withdraw candidacy

The Leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, ended the journey of MP Michel Moawad as a candidate for the presidency three months after adopting his candidacy. Or after he met the request of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Societe Generale bank, Anton Sehnaoui, to support him.

On that day, he tried to "promote" Moawad to the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, who then requested Samir Geagea and Sami Gemayel, the leaders of the Lebanese Forces (LF) and Kataeb parties, to cast their votes for Moawad.
Now that the time has gone, Jumblatt decided to take back control of the situation by proposing three names and initiating a round of meetings with the political factions.

He arranged the list, starting with the Army Commander, Joseph Aoun, then the former minister, Jihad Azaour, and finally the former deputy, Salah Hanin, after removing Moawad's name from serious consideration. Some sources said this would lead Moawad to withdraw his candidacy in the coming days.

Jumblatt has moved to Plan B

He proposed three candidates who are thought to bridge the gap between the March 8 and March 14 teams.

Jumblatt took advantage of the disagreement between Hezbollah and Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the opposition lawmakers themselves, and the conflict between Christians to reclaim the influence he had previously lost under former President Michel Aoun.

Thus, he is working today to participate in picking the next president.

However, there is no harm in contradicting Samir Geagea, especially after the latter stated that if a president is elected with Hezbollah's backing, the entire Lebanese structure must be reconsidered.

Consequently, Jumblatt, who has always been worried about "division," found in Geagea's words what threatens his "existence." He then contacted Hezbollah officials, met with them, and presented his tripartite initiative without coordinating with LF to secure Moawad's exit.

Why did Socialist Party Leader choose those three names?

Jumblatt included the name of the army commander on his list because it is deemed acceptable according to what Geagea says in media, sending a positive message first to the French and Americans who back his candidacy and then to the Saudis.

Jihad Azaour was another name he mentioned in the list because it is suitable for FPM Leader MP Gebran Bassil.
He also satisfied the Change MPs by mentioning Salah Hanin, one of their "supposed" candidates.

But according to specific sources, Jumblatt did not coordinate his initiative with any outside party, and MP Wael Abou Faour's recent visit to Riyadh did not have the desired results because he did not learn anything about the next presidential election.

What about Jumblatt's visit to Berri?

A few days ago, Jumblatt paid a visit to the Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, whereby the latter advised him to give up the name of LAF commander.

Well-informed sources explained that Jumblatt could not persuade Berri with the commander or any of his candidates. 

And Berri was powerless to convince him to pick Sleiman Frangieh, the leader of the Marada Movement.

Jumblatt, however, will not act in a situation like the presidential election without first receiving a Saudi "green light" and then one from a French-American.
In light of the current state of uncertainty, Jumblatt's main candidate is the army chief, knowing in advance that he represents a “consensus project.”
Sources said that MP Taymour Jumblatt, who headed a delegation to Bkerki, received a great response from Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai regarding the candidacy of Commander Joseph Aoun.
Christian leaders will invite Christian MPs to Bkerki

Following Bkerki meeting on Wednesday, the Christian leaders in the country expressed "their deep concern about the economic crisis facing Lebanon."

They also called upon the state officials to address the crises that lead to “the emigration of their children.”

They urged the parliament to move swiftly to fulfill its national duty and choose a president.
“We have full confidence in the solidarity of the Islamic leaders in calling for the presidential election,” they stated, saying they had urged the Patriarch to invite the Christian deputies to meet in Bkerki. 

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