Locals shower Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil with rice during his tour of the northern district of Dinnieh on Sunday, May 10, 2015. (The Daily Star/Foreign Ministry, HO)
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MP Michel Aoun took a hard line Sunday on the appointment of new security and military chiefs, warning that the government would not survive if it extended the mandate of the Army and police commanders.The warning, issued by Aoun's son-in-law Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil during a tour of villages in the northern qada of Dinnieh, was the latest in an escalating campaign by the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement against government attempts to renew the mandate of Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous. Shamel Roukoz, the head of the Army Commando Unit, to replace Kahwagi as Army commander.Bassil said the FPM, which has the second largest bloc in Parliament, must have a say in the Army commander's post. During a meeting with Aoun on April 30, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah was reported to have voiced support for the FPM leader's demand for the appointment of new security and military chiefs, implicitly rejecting attempts to renew the mandate of the Army and police commanders.The FPM has always argued that Aoun is the one who has the largest representation within the Christian community.
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