Lebanon News

Military to handle security in case of vacuum

File - General Chamel Roukoz attends a press conference in Yarzeh, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Army is set to handle the security situation in the country in case of a vacuum in the presidency, political sources told The Daily Star, adding that differences surfaced between political officials on the Military Council appointments.

The sources said that if a new head of state wasn't elected before May 25, the end of President Michel Sleiman's term, a Cabinet session would be called to task the Army with maintaining security and law and order across the country.

The sources added that there was an agreement between Sleiman and Prime Minister Tammam Salam to hand over the security file to the military in the event of a vacuum.

Meanwhile, the sources said that the main reason behind holding Friday's Cabinet session earlier last week in the Grand Serail rather than Baabda Palace was the dispute between Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and Sleiman, who was supported by the March 14 ministers, concerning appointing members of the Military Council.

The Military Council controls all the financial and logistical decision-making within the Army. The council shares authority with the Army commander.

The sources said that Aoun sought the appointment of his son-in-law Maj. Gen. Shamel Roukoz, head of the Army's elite unit, as the new Army chief.

However, other candidates for the post hold higher ranks than Roukoz, making the officer ineligible for the military’s leading post. According to the rules of the military, the Army commander cannot have a lower rank than the members of the Military Council.





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