Tammam Salam the former minister of culture for Lebanon received 124 of a possible 128 votes from Lebanon’s parliament. He was designated the new prime minister, said reports.
Salam, speaking for the first time as the Prime Minister promised to guarantee the country’s security even though the civil war rages in neighboring Syria. He said Lebanon needs to come out of its political fragmentation and division to ward off any risk that could be brought on from the tragic situation taking place in Syria and through regional tensions.
He said he accepted the nomination because of his conviction to serve for his country’s interest through cooperation of all the country’s political parties. Michel Suleiman, the President of Lebanon has asked Salam to form a unified government. Until the new government is formed, Najib Mikati the current caretaker’s government will run the government.
Salam’s support to be the new prime minister is said to be overwhelming, but the very strong consensus vote for Salam hides major difficulties that lie ahead. Insiders said that the people, who support him as well as endorse him, will expect different things out of him and it will be difficult for Salam to do.
Salam’s appointment comes just two weeks after Mikati’s resignation following two years as prime minister. Those two years were characterized by Mikati’s attempts to maintain the sectarian tensions, economic fallout due to the Syria conflict and violence.
Salam’s first task, if he can form his cabinet that will be approved by the rival political forces in Lebanon, will be to set up parliamentary elections that are due in June but will likely be delayed.