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House Speaker Nabih Berri will wait until the end of the month before convening a legislative session to consider the two bills of double urgency tabled respectively by the Strong Republic (Lebanese Forces) and National Moderation (North Lebanon, mostly former Hariri) parliamentary blocs. The first aims to postpone the retirement age of any commander-in-chief of the army by one year. In addition, the second aims to postpone the retirement of “current or acting heads of security services of the rank of general or major general” by one year.

According to informed sources, Berri is awaiting the government’s approach to this plan, before deciding to convene the House. According to the same sources, Berri is maintaining his stance on the appointments of the Governor of the Banque du Liban and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, which he believes should not occur in the absence of a President of the Republic. However, he fears that the extension of the mandate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Director General of the Internal Security Forces could pave the way for the extension of other mandates of officials in civilian or military posts.

In regards to the appointment of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the previous sources state that if an agreement is reached, it should be part of an overall package of appointments. Additionally, they added that the head of the army’s intelligence services, General Toni Kahwaji, is a favorite candidate for the army command. It is said that he receives significant support from Christians and other communities.

Faced with these choices, none of which have yet been decided, the Speaker of the House has not yet taken a decision, according to the above-mentioned sources. Seeing as there is still no rush until January 10, 2024, the date of General Joseph Aoun’s retirement, Berri is waiting for the negotiations to reach a solution that would be accepted by a broad cross-section of the Lebanese population.

Meanwhile, the caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, tried to convene a meeting of the Council of Ministers earlier this week to discuss the fate of the army command. His attempt failed, however, as the quorum required to hold the meeting was not met, for various reasons, including the fact that some ministers were traveling abroad.

Mikati is now trying to convene a government meeting on Monday, November 27, 2023. According to some reports, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mahmoud Makiyeh, has prepared a bill to extend by one year the retirement of officers at the rank of general or major general. The bill would benefit officers due to retire on or after December 31, 2023. Makiyeh has also prepared a legal and constitutional study on the most appropriate options for avoiding a vacancy at the head of the army.