Franjieh Announces Supporting the Extension of Qahwaji's Term
Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh voiced on Friday his support for extending the term of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji.
"We are taking this decision to avoid vacuum as it has become difficult to reach consensus over a new army chief,” Franjieh said after holding talks with former minister Farid Haykal al-Khazen at the latter's residence in Kesrouan district.
He noted: “The minister of defense adopts the same stance in this regard as he is keen on preserving the military institution.”
The Marada leader explained his decision, saying that Qahwaji is “upright, trustworthy and proved his competence in the last few years.”
"If we were able to name an army chief that has Qahwaji's qualities, we would have supported this option. But today, we are in front of two choices with no alternative, which are extension or vacuum. We back the extension of the army chief's mandate.”
Commenting on Aoun's stance regarding the extension, Franjieh said: “We are trying to provide a legal path to extend the army chief's term, and we are taking into consideration the current situation in the region, and the East in general.”
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun vowed earlier on Friday to challenge before the Constitutional Council the extension of Qahwaji's term, saying that it as “illegal and harms army ranks.”
The extension of Qahwaji's term which ends this September when he turns 60 – the maximum age for the post of the army commander – had created a disputed among the political foes.
Political leaders that support the extension of Qahwaji's mandate argue that the security situation in the country can't endure any vacancy in military posts.
Franjieh also called for unity between Christians.
"There is fear in the region and all Christian factions agree that they must not fight and stay united,” he expressed.