A new government was installed in power Tuesday to try, among other tasks, to navigate Lebanon out of its growing financial problems.
A presidential decree declared the formation of a 30-member cabinet under the premiership of Omar Karami. Two women were given cabinet posts for the first time since Lebanon's independence in 1943. Laila al-Solh, daughter of Lebanon's first post-independence PM Riyad al-Solh and aunt of Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, was given the industry ministry.
In the economic sphere, the new cabinet faces an enormous uphill battle. On Monday, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Lebanese officials during his visit to the capital about the country's economic "vulnerability" due to its gigantic debt.
According to Rodrigo Rato, Lebanon's economic weakness stemmed from a public debt exceeding $35 billion.
Quoted by The Daily Star , Rato said: "efforts have to continue on the path of reforms." "The path has to continue and the first issue is the debt." (menareport.com)