Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Tensions Persist between Lebanese President, Speaker over Officers’ Promotion

Tensions Persist between Lebanese President, Speaker over Officers’ Promotion

Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 - 06:45
Lebanese President Michel Aoun meets with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri at the presidential palace in Baabda. (Dalati & Nohra)

The tensions between Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri do not appear to be abating any time soon as the former reiterated on Monday his insistence of going ahead with a decree to promote a number of officers without the approval of the finance minister.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Berri’s ally, did not sign the decree, sparking a dispute over its legality and constitutionality.

Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri had signed a decree that sees the promotion of officers, who graduated from the military academy in 1994.

The president stressed his stance on Monday to go ahead with the decree, saying that anyone who objects to it can resort to the judiciary.

Sources monitoring the situation told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun’s stance marks an escalation in the crisis.

Sources from the Baabda presidential palace meanwhile revealed that Aoun had offered the objectors the option of appealing his decision before the state’s Shura council.

They are wrong in believing that the solution lies in the president retracting his decree, they told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He did not sign the decree to then go back on his word, they stressed.

Since Aoun returned to Lebanon from his Paris exile in 2005, ties between him and Berri never witnessed positive progress.

The tensions between them reached a boiling point when Hariri and Aoun struck a deal to see the latter’s election as president, a move that the speaker greatly opposed. Aoun was elected president in November 2016.

Parliamentary sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the current crisis between the president and speaker “goes beyond being a dispute over a decree or signature, but it is a very sensitive crisis that strikes at the core of the constitution.”

Editor Picks