“Chouf Day” is a farewell gathering
Almost a week before the end of his term, President Michel Sleiman chose for the first time, as per his prerogative according to Article 10 of the Constitution, to send a letter to Parliament urging lawmakers to elect a new head of state within the constitutional deadline.
The step was seen as a presidential warning against a vacuum, increasing viewed by the political parties as a viable option, despite continuing attempts to elect a president the shortest time period possible.
An-Nahar has learned that Speaker Nabih Berri is thinking of convening consecutive sessions to elect the new president, if the May 22 voting session fails to yield any results.
Kahwagi will head to Saudi Arabia ... no appointments to the Military Council
Today is the anniversary of the wretched May 17 agreement which attempted to pull Lebanon away from its Arab environment and turn it into an Israeli base. But thanks goes to those risk takers who triggered the resistance in Beirut - making the city the model of how to liberate an Arab capital - who also led the victory in 2000.
This victory is the focus of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech commemorating Liberation Day, the day Israel withdrew from south Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the $3 billion Saudi grant to the Lebanese Armed Forces is expected go into effect after Army General Jean Kahwagi received an invite to visit Riyadh and sign the grant. Sources say Kahwagi will most likely go on the trip, as the head of a military delegation, before the month’s end.
Competition between Yarze and Rabieh has prompted the Cabinet to postpone discussion on several appointments to the Military Council. As-Safir has learned that Defense Minister Samir Moqbel was advised by both former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah to dodge this bullet in Cabinet, in light of MP Michel Aoun's veto on the appointments. Aoun is arguing that extending Kahwagi’ s term in the first place was illegal.
Aoun rejects appointments for Military personnel: Change Kahwagi
Conflicting reports emerged stating that MP Michel Aoun was willing to agree on extending President Michel Sleiman's term, with certain conditions, however it turned out that Aoun only sought to change Kahwagi and bring in an alternative.
Foreign minister Gebran Bassil handed President Sleiman a letter, stating that the Change and Reform bloc was willing to extend his term for one year, in exchange for appointing Shamel Rukoz as the new army general. Sleiman rejected the proposal.
However sources say that Bassil told the president that Aoun was opposed to appointing three new members to the Military Council, without appointing a new army general. Regardless, Sleiman still rejected the proposal.