Aoun Says Won't Allow Encroachment on His Powers
President Michel Aoun stressed Wednesday that he will not tolerate any attempt to encroach on his presidential powers, amid a growing row between him and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
“We have reached the extent of encroachment on our powers and this is unacceptable,” Aoun said.
“We respect all authorities in line with the constitution and the laws and we don't want to antagonize anyone. To the contrary, we want the country to remain stable and secure,” the president added.
“We are known for our will to build the country. State institutions without a constitution and laws would be of no value, because they would be governed by chaos,” Aoun warned.
Reiterating his call for resorting to the judiciary to resolve the ongoing spat, the president added: “Before the judiciary, no one would win and no one would lose, because the judiciary voices the righteous stance.”
“We will not accept the approach of rejecting the role of the Shura Council and the constitution, because this approach does not build a country,” Aoun underlined.
The Aoun-Berri spat broke out after the president and the premier signed a decree granting one-year seniority to a number of officers. Berri and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil have insisted that the decree should have also carried the finance minister's signature.
Aoun and his aides have argued that the decree did not require Khalil's signature because it did not entail any “financial burden,” a point Berri and officials close to him have argued against.
Ain el-Tineh sources have meanwhile warned that the decree would tip sectarian balance in favor of Christians in the army's highest echelons.
The officers in question were undergoing their first year of officer training at the Military Academy when Syrian forces ousted Aoun's military government from Baabda in 1990. They were suspended by the pro-Damascus authorities until 1993 before they resumed their officer training course as second-year cadets.