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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid