Army Officers Refuse Promotion by Saniora's Govt
Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 477
27/12/2007 Ten pro-February 14 MPs submitted to Parliament's secretariat Thursday a petition to ratify Fouad Saniora's government draft law on a constitutional amendment to enable the election of Army Commander General Michel Suleiman as president.
The petition urges the legislature to adopt a decision to amend paragraph 3 of article 49 of the constitution and to call for an extraordinary parliamentary session starting January 1, 2008 in the event that the ordinary session set for Saturday to elect a new president ended without success. Hezbollah lashed out at Saniora's government blaming it for violations of the constitution and of premeditated usurping of presidential powers. For his part, MP Ali Bazzi, who is a member of Speaker Nabih Berri's bloc, reiterated that Berri will reject the draft law from the "unconstitutional" government, saying the move will increase "complications" rather than finding a solution to the political deadlock.
Saniora has even decided to dive even deeper into taking decisions that will eventually lead to more political strain. On Christmas Eve, the Lebanese had hoped this occasion would pass with minimum political calm between the loyalty and opposition blocs, but it did not. Saniora, or the "head of state" as his entourage now like to call him, has called his ministers to hold a regular session to discuss a number of matters including the status of some employees and retired employees as well as promotions for some military officers. Saniora's decision prompted the opposition to intensify deliberations after it had decided to peacefully pass the holidays. According to Assafir daily, the unconstitutional status of the government has cause a new crisis with the title: "periodic promotion of Lebanese Army officers," including those who would be pensioned off. This perilous move was widely discussed in an expanded military meeting in the MoD headquarters in Yarzeh, presided over by Army Chief General Michel Suleiman. Assafir said the meeting ended with a "unanimous agreement" on the principal that officer promotions would only be accepted after the President's signature.
Officers entitled to promotion with the beginning of 2008 number 1,500.
Loyalty Bloc: Counting on U.S. Leads to Collapse
Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 479
26/12/2007 The Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc on Wednesday launched a vehement attack on the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora blaming it for a parcel of violations, including "premeditated" usurping of presidential powers and pledged "new complications" to the already tense situation.
The stand was made in a statement issued by the parliamentary bloc following a meeting presided over by its chairman MP Mohammed Raad. A constitutional amendment bill by the unconstitutional government was tantamount to "usurping presidential powers," the statement said.
"That provides clear evidence to the crime of premeditated usurping of authority and a coup against the constitution, despite (the fact) that what has been adopted by the (unconstitutional) government two days ago carries no constitutional or practical values," the statement added.
The alleged constitutional amendment bill, aimed at facilitating the election of Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman president, "is a provocative measure designed to test the opposition's response," the Loyalty bloc charged. It threatened: "such a performance opens the door to new complications for which the authority would be held fully responsible."
The bloc added that the ruling bloc’s rejection to the formation of a "national unity government" in which the Lebanese national opposition enjoys veto powers "exposed" that nominating Gen. Suleiman for the presidency was a mere "maneuver aimed at covering up … their rejection of true national partnership."