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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced the formation of a new Lebanese government late Monday following weeks of bickering and a five-month political vacuum since parliamentary elections. The breakthrough comes at a price, though, since Mr. Hariri has had to give the Hezbollah-led opposition key ministerial positions.
The list of members in Prime Minister Saad Hariri's new government was announced at the presidential palace in Baabda, Monday night, after a day of marathon deal-making and last-minute courtesy calls to both allies and adversaries.
Lebanon has been without a government since June 7 parliamentary elections which Mr. Hariri's coalition won. Mr. Hariri had failed during a previous attempt to form a unity government.
Mr. Hariri addressed reporters gathered at the palace for the announcement, saying that he was pleased that a difficult page was now being turned, and urging Lebanese to unite to build a better future for their country:
He says that he doesn't wish to repeat the difficult period of negotiations, again, and that it is time for Lebanese to move forward and build a better future for their country.
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One of the final obstacles that was overcome during Monday's behind-the-scenes bargaining among Lebanon's fractious political parties was how many seats to award to populist Christian leader and Hezbollah-ally General Michel Aoun.
Aoun told reporters, Monday, after meeting with Mr. Hariri that he was pleased that recent snags had been ironed-out.
The pro-Syrian Hezbollah, which was given key positions in the new government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicated earlier that it hoped for a government platform which endorsed the party's role as Lebanon's national "resistance."
Lebanon's presidential spokesman told reporters that the members of the new government would meet with President Michel Suleiman, Tuesday, for a roundtable discussion.