Lebanese Prime Minister-designate sets up cabinet
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati announced Tuesday that he has formed a Cabinet, ending over six weeks of delay in trying to set up a government for Lebanon.
"This is a no-grudge government and the beginning of making the future," Mikati said shortly after meeting President Emile Lahoud and parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the presidential palace. "This Cabinet represents all Lebanese sects."
Mikati, a pro-Syrian lawmaker, was appointed to form a government on Friday. The first legislator to be asked to form a Cabinet, Omar Karami, gave up last week.
Karami's government resigned on February 28 in the wake of mass demonstrations over the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri two weeks before. In March he was asked to form a new Cabinet.
The opposition, which refused to join a Karami-led Cabinet, has been pushing for elections to be held before the outgoing parliament's mandate expires on May 31. It expects to win a majority in the elections.
Mikati told reporters Monday that the main goal of the government he was trying to form would be "passing the election law and holding general elections within the constitutional time-frame." It was the first time Mikati had specifically mentioned the May 31 deadline.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)