Change and Reform Vows No Leniency over Appointments, Urges Respect of Constitution

The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc stressed Tuesday that it will show no “leniency” in the issue of security and military appointments, calling for respecting the Constitution and the National Pact.

“There will be no leniency regarding the issue of appointments. The government that appointed the members of the Banking Control Commission and the cabinet's secretary general has the ability to carry out military appointments,” the bloc said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting in Rabieh.

In another statement issued last week, the bloc had called for carrying out the appointments without any delay, noting that “the cabinet is not acting in caretaker capacity.”

A dispute had erupted earlier this year between bloc leader MP Michel Aoun and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel over the latter's extension of the term of security officials. Aoun had slammed the move, saying that the minister exceeded his privileges.

For his part, Moqbel defended his measure, explaining that it adhered to the constitution.

The MP went so far as to withdraw his confidence from the minister over the extension of the term of the head of the Higher Defense Council, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair.

The military positions in Lebanon are suffering as a result of the months-long presidential vacuum in light of the parliament's failure to elect a successor for Michel Suleiman. The vacuum also threatens the position of Internal Security Forces chief Major General Ibrahim Basbous who is set to retire in June.

In its statement on Tuesday, the bloc lamented that “there is neither an electoral law nor a president” and “the parliament's term has been extended twice.”

“Where is the Constitution and where is the National Pact?” ex-minister Salim Jreissati, who recited the bloc's statement, added.

Turning to the stalled presidential vote, the bloc underlined that “popular legitimacy gives legitimacy to all authorities and posts.”

Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun had last year demanded that the president be elected through a popular rather than a parliamentary vote, the thing that was swiftly rejected by the rival March 14 camp, which slammed the proposal as “illegitimate.”

“We will not grow weary before we realize the National Pact's stipulations in all constitutional posts,” the bloc emphasized on Tuesday.

The 1943 National Pact is an unwritten agreement that set the basis for the political system in the country, which is based on a sectarian distribution of power.

As for the separate Mustaqbal-Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement-Lebanese Forces talks, the bloc noted that “the mere occurrence of dialogue sessions is a positive thing.”

“We're hearing positive feedback from the Mustaqbal-Hizbullah talks. Sectarian tension is a dangerous thing in Lebanon and anything that can alleviate it is a welcome step,” it said.

“Dialogue between the FPM and the LF is moving forward and when we reach a certain result we will announce it. We don't want to be followers in any major settlement that happens in the region,” it added.

Commenting on the latest nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the bloc said “this agreement has turned Iran into a force of stability in the region.”


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