Report: Cabinet to OK Aoun's extension, Hezbollah and PSP to abstain

The issue of extending the term of Army chief General Joseph Aoun by six months will likely be tackled from outside the agenda during Friday’s Cabinet session, a media report said on Thursday.

The move will be discussed “based on a legal study prepared by Council of Ministers Secretary-General Judge Mahmoud Makiyyeh,” al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

Aoun’s “retirement postponement is expected to be approved while the ministers of Hezbollah and the Progressive Socialist Party will abstain from voting,” the daily added.

It however noted that approving the postponement does not mean that the resolution would go into effect, “amid indications that the Free Patriotic Movement will appeal it before the State Shoura Council and will perhaps ask Defense Minister Maurice Slim to task the highest-ranking officer with assuming the missions of the army commander pending the appointment of a new commander.”

Asharq al-Awsat newspaper for its part said that “it has become almost confirmed that the retirement postponement will not take place in Thursday’s parliamentary session.”

“Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri will schedule another session that will be held after the Cabinet session,” sources from Berri’s parliamentary bloc told the daily.

“Berri has taken all the measures to immunize extension and should Cabinet fail to do so, parliament will carry out the mission in its second session,” the sources reassured.

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