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Cabinet appoints Roger Salem dep. com. of ISF.

Summary: The government appointed Brig. Gen. Roger Salem as deputy commander of the Internal Security Forces Tuesday.

BEIRUT: The government appointed Brig. Gen. Roger Salem as deputy commander of the Internal Security Forces Tuesday, a promotion that means he will serve as acting commander of the ISF in the absence of Commander Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi.

The Cabinet appointed Salem to replace Brig. Gen. Robert Jabbour, who retired a month ago, during a session at Bbda Palace.

"The decree called for the appointment of Inspector General Brig. Gen. Roger Salem as deputy commander of the Internal Security Forces for being the most senior official among the officials in the council," an ISF statement said.

Salem, 57, will serve as deputy commander of the ISF until he reaches retirement age in eight months, a security source told The Daily Star.

Although tradition dictates the appointment of a Sunni to head the ISF command council under Lebanon's 1943 National Pact, Salem, a Greek Catholic, will serve as acting commander of the ISF in the absence of Rifi.

The appointment comes following the assassination of the chief of the ISF's Information Branch, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, which prompted concern that other senior security figures could be targeted.

It also comes one day after Prime Minister Najib Mikati told The Daily Star that Cabinet would call for parliamentary elections to be held in June.

According to ministerial sources, some ministers asked Mikati whether, in announcing his intention to call for elections, he was signaling to Rifi to resign in order to become eligible to run for Parliament.

"Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil and Labor Minister Salim Jreissati asked Mikati whether he seeks to give a signal to some security officials to submit their resignation to be eligible for running in next year's elections," the ministerial sources said.

The sources said that several ministers also criticized Mikati's remarks, which they argued indicate that the Cabinet has agreed to carry out the upcoming elections based on the 1960 law.

The law, which was partly amended and used in 2009 parliamentary elections, is based on the winner-take-all system with qadas as the electorate.

Mikati said that unless an alternative law is agreed upon, the government would carry out the elections in June based on the existing law.

With March 14 boycotting parliamentary sessions in the presence of Mikati's government and less than nine months before the Parliament's four-year term ends, time is running out for the proposals for a new electoral law made by the Cabinet and opposition lawmakers.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Dec 5, 2012
Words:438
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