Lebanon president reappoints pro-Syrian politician as prime minister
Lebanon's president reappointed Omar Karami as the nation's prime minister on Thursday, 10 days after the pro-Syrian politician stepped down amid street protests and international pressure.
Karami immediately called for a national unity government, which he invited the opposition to join. "The difficulties we all know cannot be confronted without a government of national unity and salvation," he said, according to The AP.
The decision by pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud came after legislators, ignoring weeks of anti-government protests, advised the president to rename Karami. He was virtually assured nomination after 71 legislators put forward his name, more than half of the votes required in the 128-member legislature.
Under the constitution, the president is obliged to comply with the choice of the majority of legislators.
Opposition leaders have said that it was a trap to call opposition members into Cabinet without giving them any say in policy making. They strongly attack Karami's reappointment.
Opposition member Samir Franjieh on Wednesday described the reappointment of Karami as an escalation by the government aimed at scuttling any attempts at dialogue. "It is a step that greatly challenges the opposition and the people's feelings," commented Franjieh.
Source close to Karami said he would insist on a freer hand to pick or exclude cabinet ministers, a process which has been heavily influenced by the president of the republic and the speaker of parliament.