Estonian parlt panel unanimously supports extending defense chief's term in office

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The National Defense Committee of the Estonian parliament on Monday unanimously supported a proposal to extend by two years defense forces commander Lt. Gen. Riho Terras' term of office.

Defense Minister Hannes Hanso told BNS after the committee sitting that all six parties represented in the committee expressed unanimous support for his proposal to extend the defense chief's term in office by two years from Dec. 5, 2016.

The committee valued highly Terras' contribution to the development of national defense and highlighted the successful realization of this spring's massive exercise Siil (Hedgehog), the minister said.

Hanso earlier said he proposed to Terras to stay on so as to ensure continuity of the direction and development of defense forces in the present complicated security policy situation. According to the defense minister Terras enjoys authority in the defense forces and both at home and abroad, and is a valued leader with high political support.

The proposal was backed by Prime Minister Taavi Roivas as well.

Under the Military Service Act, the commander of the defense forces is appointed into office by the government at the defense minister's proposal, taking into account the position of the parliamentary committee.

By the law the term of office of the defense chief is five years, but the government has the right to extend it by two years at the defense minister's proposal and taking into account the position of the committee.

Terras was appointed commander of the defense forces in October 2011 and took up the appointment in December of the same year.