FPM Makes Initiative on Appointments as Cabinet Set to Fail on Choosing Army Chief of Staff

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The Free Patriotic Movement has reportedly made an initiative to resolve the dispute on the appointment of high-ranking military and security officials as the cabinet, which is set to discuss the matter this week, is expected to fail to appoint a new miltiary chief of staff.

An Nahar daily said Monday that the proposal was made by FPM chief MP Michel Aoun during his meeting with Defense Minister Samir Moqbel last week.

The FPM claims that the initiative “preserves the dignity of all sides and abides by the law,” said the newspaper, without giving further details.

The proposal was revealed by An Nahar on the eve of the retirement of army chief of staff Maj. Gen. Walid Salman.

The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the issue during a session on Wednesday because Salman is set to retire at midnight Thursday.

The posts of high-ranking military and security officials are a source of contention among cabinet members, mainly the FPM and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The FPM's ministers have stressed that the issue should be a top priority at cabinet sessions because they consider the extension of the officials' terms illegal.

Sources close to Salam told al-Akhbar daily that three names, which would be proposed by Moqbel to appoint a new army chief of staff during Wednesday's session, will not garner the support of the majority.

The defense minister will have no choice but to issue a decree to extend Salman's term, a move that is totally rejected by the FPM.

In remarks to An Nahar, ministerial sources expected the FPM's supporters to hold a protest to reject the extension.

Last month, FPM demonstrators marched towards the Grand Serail during a cabinet session to put pressure on Salam to amend the government's decision-making mechanism which they consider as hindering the rights of Christians.

The FPM is stressing that its ministers should have a say on the cabinet's agenda because they consider themselves the representatives of the Christian president in his absence.

Baabda Palace has been vacant since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May last year.

Comments 1
Thumb -phoenix1 04 August 2015, 16:43

Aoun wants to be president. Aoun wants his son in law to become army general. Aoun wants the other son in law to become minister of this or minister of that, and be careful, if he doesn't get his wishes, he will happily cripple the nation. Well ya sick Claoun, Qahwaji will become president of the Republic, Roukoz will NOT be army chief and Gebran will end up with you under s profound probe to see where he stashed all the cash given us. Aoun, you're playing with fire, but now the US has clearly set its red lines, and you know what Red Lines mean. last time you defied the US red lines, you were sent scurrying to the French for cover, leaving behind you your wife, daughters and officers. This time again you will not have time to abscond, it's 2015, things have changed a lot.