On Saturday, Lebanon announced it had formed a new government ending the political deadlock of 10 months during which violence from a spillover from the Syria civil war worsened the instability within the country.
The government has been operated by a caretaker government since Najib Mikati the former Prime Minister resigned last March as the parties aligned with the movement of the Hezbollah and the rival Sunni-led bloc pursued a struggle for power that was exacerbated by their support for opposite sides in the nearly three year civil war in Syria.
On television, Tammam Salam the new Prime Minister declared that a new government had been formed in the name of national interest.
Salam said he had hoped that the new government would allow the country to have new presidential elections prior to Michel Suleiman’s mandate ended in May, as well as parliamentary polls that had been postponed in 2013 because of the political impasse.
Parliament designated the lawmaker who is Sunni as the prime minister back in April of 2013. However, he has not been able to form a coalition government for many months due the bitter rivalries between the March 8 bloc, which is Hezbollah, dominated and the March 14 group, led by the country’s Sunni Future Party.
Amongst the highest posts that were announced was Gebran Bassil the former Energy Minister will be the foreign minister. Ali Hassan Khalil, the former health minister will take over the finance portfolio and Nouhad Machnouk was named the interior minister.
Salam’s new cabinet has 14 members and united members of the rival political groups.
Numerous challenges confront the Salam government including the deteriorating security in the country and the upcoming elections for the presidency scheduled for May 25.
The decree appointing the new president Salam and his Cabinet of 24 was issued following talks between Salam, Michel Sleiman the President and Nabih Berri the Parliament Speaker at the Baabda Palace.
Salam is a self-avowed centrist and was appointed in early April of 2013 following a falling out amongst the ministers leading to the resignation of Najib Mikati the former Prime Minister.