Sources: Jumblat’s Campaign against Mashnouq Result of Electoral Fears

Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat is at loggerheads with Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, a member of al-Mustaqbal Movement, to pressure him into postponing the municipal elections, informed sources said Wednesday.

Jumblat has been accusing al-Mashnouq of corruption as a result of his anger for having two Druze officers, one of them an adviser, at the Interior Ministry who are not loyal to the PSP chief, the sources told al-Liwaa newspaper.

The same sources said that Jumblat is pressuring the minister into postponing the municipal polls that are due next month because the PSP and al-Mustaqbal have failed in reaching an understanding on fighting the elections together in the area of Iqlim al-Kharroub.

Jumblat also fears that he would lose his grip on Christian towns in Aley and Shouf districts as a result of the rapprochement between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, al-Liwaa quoted a minister as saying.

On Tuesday, Jumblat and Health Minister Wael Abou Faour on one side and al-Mashnouq on the other exchanged accusations over several issues, including the leadership of Judicial Police and corruption at the Internal Security Forces.

However, a member of Jumblat’s Democratic Gathering bloc, MP Antoine Saad denied in remarks to Voice of Lebanon (100.5) radio that the PSP chief does not want the municipal elections to be held.

The dispute between Jumblat and al-Mashnouq does not harm the relations between the lawmaker and the head of al-Mustaqbal Movement, ex-PM Saad Hariri, said Saad.