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Lebanon: No Deal Yet Between Jumblat, Christian Parties

Lebanon: No Deal Yet Between Jumblat, Christian Parties

Monday, 19 February, 2018 - 08:30
Jumblat visited President Aoun at Baabda last week in Baabda. NNA week

Discussions between head of the Democratic Gathering bloc MP Walid Jumblat and Lebanese Christian parties on a political alliance in the Shouf-Aley electoral district have reached a standstill although the Druze leader secured a deal with Prime Minister Saad Hariri in other areas where both sides enjoy large influence.

A leading Democratic Gathering minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that talks held between Jumblat, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party are running in a vicious circle, particularly in the Shouf-Aley district which is diverse politically and confessionally.

Jumblat hopes to form an electoral alliance that involves all political factions, to consolidate consensus and ward off security and economic threats.

Meanwhile, other sources described a meeting held lately between Jumblat and Hariri as positive, saying the two officials were able to agree on their electoral alliances.

Jumblat also held talks with President Michel Aoun in a meeting described as “excellent.”

In a related development, Asharq Al-Awsat learned that Jumblat’s son, Taymour, met with MP Sami Gemayel in Bikfaya as part of a “gathering that included several mutual friends.”

Although the meeting tackled the next parliamentary elections, sources said that Gemayel and Jumblat have not yet agreed on the formation of any alliance.

In the Shouf district, the Lebanese Forces (LF) refuses to support Naji Boustani, Jumblat’s candidate, while the Free Patriotic Movement insists on receiving a “fair share” of seats.

Sources expect that Jumblat will soon send his two envoys, MPs Nehmeh Tohmeh and Akram Shehayeb, to Maarab for talks with LF leader Samir Geagea before agreeing on the latest electoral alliances.

Tohmeh told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Jumblat has not shut his doors to any party.

“Jumblat is keen on reaching out to all political entities. We do not want to eliminate any force, but on the contrary, we are keen on protecting the political diversity of the Mountains,” Tohmeh said.

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