Defense Minister Samir Moqbel meets with Army commander Jean Kahwagi on Saturday, March 28, 2015. (The Daily Star/HO)
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The inaction of Cabinet at Thursday's session paved the way for extending the term of the chief of the Higher Defense Council and set the stage for a similar move next month to extend the term of Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi. As the nearly five-hour session neared its conclusion, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel proposed an item from outside the Cabinet's agenda: appointing a new secretary-general for the Higher Defense Council. Out of the 24 ministers only seven voted, including two ministers from the Free Patriotic Movement, two from Hezbollah, Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian, and Sports and Youth Minister Abdul-Muttaleb al-Hinawi.Wednesday, Moqbel said he would exercise his constitutional and legal duty to extend Kheir's term if the Cabinet could not agree on a candidate. Some ministers, including Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk, predicted the outcome. FPM ministers, and possibly Progressive Socialist Party ministers, are expected to insist on a new Army commander when Kahwagi's term ends in September.Education Minister Elias Bou Saab lauded the Cabinet's decision.
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