For the second time in a row Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the parliament session due to lack of quorum after most blocs boycotted it and postponed the 3 day session until July 29, but kept the same controversial agenda.
Only Hezbollah, Amal ( which is headed by the speaker) and National Struggle front Bloc MPs arrived to attend the session , but the rest for different reasons boycotted it including MP Michel Aoun’s FPM MPs.
The controversial agenda includes the extension of the term of army chief General Jean Kahwaji in addition to another 45 draft laws
Aoun did not want to attend because he is opposed to the extension of Kahwaji term , which is the only urgent item on the agenda , while all the March 14 blocs boycotted the session because they wanted to limit the discussion the extension of Kahwaji’s term .
Aoun proposed on June 30 appointing his son-in-law General Chamel Roukoz who is currently the commander of Lebanese Commando Regiment ( Maghaweer) as the new army chief.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati who boycotted the session said the scheduled parlaiment session was unconstitutional since ( in the absence of a functioning cabinet) it is supposed to tackle only urgent issues and not 45 items as per the agenda set by the speaker, but Berri is insisting on keeping the agenda intact.
There were reports that March 14 was linking the extension of Kahwaji’s term, to the fate of Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, but this was denied by Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat during an interview at the parliament with LBC
Rifi, who is backed by March 14 , retired after he turned 59 – the ISF’s maximum working age – on April 1. His post is now held by acting chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous. Kahwaji’s term ends in September when he turns 60.
Fatfat also told LBC today that had Berri really cared about the extension of Kahwaji’s mandate he would have facilitated a deal on the legislative session’s agenda.
March 14 blocs are isisting on having a new cabinet before a parlaiment session is held to discuss items that are not urgent.
PM Designate Tammam Salam has been trying to form a cabinet of 24 ministers ( 8 each for the centrists, March 14 and March 8 blocs) for several months but the Hezbollah-led March 8 group is insisting on having a veto power in the cabinet. For this reason the country remains without a cabinet.
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