BEIRUT — Walid Joumblatt said Sunday that he is "ready to help" his son, just moments before Teymour Joumblatt officially assumed the reins of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) following a vote held in the Chouf.
"Soon, I won't be at the head of the party anymore. I don't feel anything, I'm satisfied: after 46 years, it's time," Walid Joumblatt told L'Orient-Le Jour on the sidelines of the party's internal ballot at the Grand Hotel Victoria, in Ain Zhalta.
"It depends on Teymour," said the longtime Druze leader. "If he wants me to help him, I'm ready. I give him all the freedom he needs. He now has a new team, and it's up to him."
The younger Joumblatt, 41, was elected automatically. Eight new members of the party's general secretariat were also elected on Sunday.
Walid Joumblatt became head of the PSP in 1977, following the assassination of his father Kamal Joumblatt near a Syrian army roadblock, two years after the start of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). He has held this position without interruption since then.
In 2017, before a crowd in Moukhtara, Chouf, Walid Joumblatt symbolically placed the black-and-white-checkered keffiyeh on his son's shoulders, designating him as his successor. A year later, Teymour was elected member of Parliament and headed the party's parliamentary group.
Walid's intention to give his son the last word on political issues had been mentioned several times in recent years. Last year, Teymour delivered the speech marking the commemoration of Kamal Joumblatt's assassination to a crowd of supporters.
In early May, after a meeting in Ain al-Tineh with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the elder Joumblatt declared, in response to several political questions, that "the future lies with Teymour."