News / Middle East

New Government Formed in Lebanon

Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (C) walks at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Feb. 15, 2014.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (C) walks at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Feb. 15, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
Lebanon has announced a new Cabinet that includes a wide range of political groups, breaking months of bitter infighting, mostly over Syria's civil war.

Prime Minister Tamam Salam announced his 24-member national unity government on Saturday.

Parliament had designated the Sunni lawmaker as prime minister in April last year, but rivalries between the Shi'ite Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition and the Sunni-led March 14 alliance had prevented Salam from forming a government.

Agreement was reached when the March 14 alliance agreed to withdraw its choice for interior minister after strong opposition from Hezbollah.

The names of the 24 members of the new government were solemnly read aloud in a gesture that left many Lebanese breathing a sigh of relief. The country had been in the hands of a caretaker government for many months, as both major political factions argued over who controlled what.

The incoming prime minister, himself the son of a beloved long-time prime minister, noted in his inaugural message that he had attempted to put together a balanced government in which all parties participated, but without any religious or sectarian quotas.

Members of the new government — some of whom are not on speaking terms — posed for the traditional Cabinet photo at the presidential palace on the stormy winter day.

International agreement

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Cabinet formation, saying the severity of Lebanon's security, humanitarian and economic issues should spur the government to act without delay to address these challenges.

Syria's civil war has spilled over into neighboring Lebanon and sharply divided its population.

Salam said the new Cabinet will have to face the explosive social issue created by nearly a million Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, which has a population of 4 million.

According to Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, formation of the new government despite regional tensions is a sign of international agreement over the need to keep Lebanon out of the conflict raging in Syria, insisting that the new government represents a lowest common denominator with concessions by all sides, including Hezbollah and anti-Syrian parties.

Abou Diab argued that the accord would not have been possible without an international will to spare Lebanon further consequences of the Syrian conflict, and that the agreement is largely the product of intense mediation by both the U.S. and France, which are historic power brokers in the country.

The Cabinet is not expected to remain in office long because a new government is slated to be formed after President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May and a new head of state is elected.

Some analysts have been warning that Lebanon risks facing yet another political abyss if members of parliament are unable to choose a new president. A brutal and bloody war broke out in 1989 in the leadership vacuum created by the inability to elect a new president.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs