New Lebanese government introduced

Hezbollah will have two ministerial portfolios in new cabinet headed by Saad Hariri.

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Ben Ariel,

Saad Hariri
Saad Hariri
Reuters

Lebanon on Sunday announced a new 30-minister government led by Saad Hariri, AFP reports.

The new government brings together the entire political spectrum except for the Christian Phalangist party that rejected the portfolio it was offered.

"This is a government of entente," Hariri said of the new cabinet, formed six weeks after the election of President Michel Aoun.

New portfolios include an anti-corruption post and, for the first time, a minister of state for women's affairs.

Hariri said the Phalangist party had been offered a minister of state post but had turned it down.

The new government will have "at the top of its list of priorities to preserve security against the fires ravaging our region," Hariri was quoted as having told reporters.

It would act to "preserve our country from the negative consequences of the Syrian crisis".

Aoun was elected president in late October, ending a two-year political vacuum which occurred as the Lebanese parliament had 33 times failed to elect a new head of state due to lack of a quorum.

Several days later, on November 3, Hariri was nominated to form Lebanon's next government, but the process was seen as likely to be hampered by deep differences with the Hezbollah movement.

The 46-year-old Hariri, who has already once served as Lebanese prime minister, is anti-Syria and a fierce opponent of Hezbollah, which backs the government of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria and is actively involved in the fighting there.

Hariri is the son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, an act blamed on Hezbollah.

But he was forced to throw his support behind Aoun, their candidate for the presidency, in order to secure his return to power as premier, noted AFP.

Hariri's government will have two ministers from Hezbollah.

Lebanon is due to hold parliamentary elections in May 2017, the first legislative vote in eight years.

The current parliament -- elected in 2009 -- has extended its own mandate twice amid fierce disagreements over revamping Lebanon's electoral law.

"The government will also work on the preparation of a new electoral law," Hariri said on Sunday.








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