Official: New Lebanese Government Formed
New Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri formed Thursday a 30-member cabinet, the second government under the mandate of President Emile Lahoud, the secretary general of the Council of Ministers said, according to AFP.
The half Christian, half Muslim government was made up of 29 ministers in addition to the billionaire prime minister, Salim Ladki told reporters at the presidential palace in Beirut's northeastern suburb of Baabda, said the agency.
The announcement was made after a meeting between Lahoud, Hariri and House Speaker Nabih Berri.
According to the Lebanese newspaper, Daily Star, The Sunni, Shiite and Maronite communities all received six portfolios in the new Cabinet, followed by the Orthodox (4), Druze (3), Catholic (3), Protestant (1), and Armenians (1).
Besides Hariri, who will hold no other portfolios as he did in his previous Cabinets, the Sunni ministers are Hariri allies Samir Jisr (Justice), Fouad Siniora (Finance), Bahij Tabbara (Minister of State), and Western Bekaa-Rashaya MP Abdel-Rahim Mrad (Education and Higher Education).
The sixth Sunni minister, Tripoli MP Najib Mikati, a minister in the government of Salim Hoss, retains the Public Works and Transport portfolio.
The Maronite ministers are Zahle MP Khalil Hrawi (Defense), Zghorta MP Suleiman Franjieh (Health), Aley MP Pierre Helou (Minister of State), Aley MP Fouad Saad (Minister of State for Administrative Reform), Kesrouan MP George Frem (Industry) and Jean-Louis Qordahi, the mayor of Jbeil, who takes over the Telecommunications portfolio.
Representing the Shiite community are ambassador Mahmoud Hammoud (Foreign and Emigrant Affairs), Amal Movement official and Tyre MP Abdel-Hammoud Beydoun (Energy and Water), Lebanese University President Asaad Diab (Social Affairs), Amal official Ali Abdullah (Agriculture), Syrian Social Nationalist Party leader Ali Qanso (Labor) and Baath Party official Nazih Beydoun (Minister of State). Hammoud and Diab are seen as allies of Speaker Nabih Berri, who heads Amal.
Two of the three Druze ministers - Beirut MP Ghazi Aridi (Information) and Chouf MP Marwan Hamade (Minister for the Displaced) - are allies of Walid Jumblatt, while the third is Aley MP Talal Arslan, Jumblatt’s political rival.
Among the Orthodox ministers, Elias Murr will head the Interior and Municipalities Ministry, succeeding his father, Metn MP Michel Murr, while Akkar MP Issam Fares was named Deputy Prime Minister. Karam Karam, the health minister in the government of Salim Hoss, will take over the Tourism portfolio and Beirut MP Beshara Merhej, an ally of Hariri, was named minister of state.
The Catholic ministers are Zahrani MP Michel Musa (Environment), an ally of Berri, Hariri ally Beirut MP Michel Pharaon (Minister of State) and Paris-based academic Ghassan Salameh (Culture).
The minister of the economy is Hariri ally and Beirut MP Basel Fuleihan, a Protestant, while the sole Armenian minister in Hariri’s government is Metn MP Sebouh Hovnanian, an official with the Tashnak Party – (Several Sources)
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