Lebanon’s Government Announced after 8 months of deadlock
Lebanon President, Michel Aoun agreed Hariri's new government on Thursday evening, ending nearly 8 months of political wrangling.
Iran Press/Middle East: A new 30-member government to be led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri was unveiled during a press conference at the presidential palace in the capital, Beirut, after rival political factions managed to hammer out their differences over the government line-up.
The new government will include most Lebanese political factions, who have been negotiating the make-up of the cabinet since a May 6 election, Al-Manar reported.
According to a statement by Lebanon’s presidency, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil from Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal party, and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who leads President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, have retained their positions in the new cabinet.
Hezbollah resistance has chosen Jamil Jabak as the new health minister.
The Future movement’s Raya al-Hasan will be the country’s new interior minister. Hasan is one of four women appointed to the cabinet and the first woman to hold this position.
"We must turn the page and start working," said Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is now in his third term.
Speaking following the announcement, Hariri voiced alarm about the country’s economic and financial challenges, saying the time for dealing with problems with “painkillers” is over.
"The time of treatment with painkillers is over. No one can put their head in the sand anymore. Matters are as clear as the sun. All the problems are known and the causes of the corruption and waste and administrative deficiency are also known,” the prime minister said.
"Lebanese are living in concern about the economic situation,” Hariri said, adding that the government’s work could not wait.
The most pressing challenge for the cabinet is to revive Lebanon's economic fortunes and cut the national debt, which stands at about 150% of GDP.
Hariri's reforms are expected to unlock nearly $11bn (£8bn) in pledged international aid and loans.
Fireworks lit up the sky over the capital Beirut on Thursday to celebrate the formation of the new government.
The announcement of the new government ends months of uncertainty following parliamentary elections last May.
Lebanon has long had a power-sharing political system between the different religious denominations.
The number of seats in parliament is split between Christians and Muslims, and the president, prime minister, and speaker of the parliament must each come from a specific religious background. 101/205