A new 30-member national unity Cabinet headed by Prime minister Saad Hariri was finally announced Sunday in Lebanon nearly two months after a new president was elected, and the PM vowed that his top priority would be to protect the country from the effects of the civil war in neighboring Syria.
The Cabinet includes most of the country’s political groups, including the Shiite militant Hezbollah, which holds two seats. It was to hold its first meeting on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the Cabinet was announced, Hariri said his government’s priority would be to “preserve the stability that is prevailing in Lebanon amid fires that are spreading around the region.”
He said his government would work to “isolate our country from the negative effects of the Syrian war” and would seek international help in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled into Lebanon.
Lebanon is home to about 1.5 million Syrian refugees, or a about a third of the country’s population. The Syrian war has spilled over into Lebanon on several occasions over the past five years, with clashes and bombings that killed scores.
Lebanese are sharply divided over Syria’s war. Hariri has been a harsh critic of President Bashar Assad’s government, while Hezbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to back the Syrian leader.
Hariri, who served as prime minister for 14 months until early 2011, began working to form the new Cabinet in early November, days after the country’s newly elected president, Michel Aoun, asked him to do so. The new government must still be approved by parliament.
A Christian leader and strong ally of the Shiite Hezbollah group, Aoun was elected president by parliament on Oct. 31, ending a 29-month presidential vacuum in Lebanon. His election was made possible after Hariri endorsed him for president, based on an understanding that Aoun would then appoint him as prime minister.
According to Lebanon’s sectarian-based power-sharing system, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Muslim Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim.
Hariri is the son of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a billionaire businessman and influential politician who was assassinated in 2005 in Beirut. Several Hezbollah members are being tried in absentia by a U.N.-backed tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands for killing Hariri.
Here is the line up of the new cabinet
1- Saad Hariri – Prime Minister
2- Ghassan Hasbani – VP and Minister of Public Health, Lebanese Forces headed by Samir Geagea
3- Marwan Hamadeh – Minister of Education – Progressive Socialist Party headed by MP Walid Jumblatt
4- Ayman Choucair – Minister of State for Human Rights- Progressive Socialist Party headed by MP Walid Jumblatt
5- Talal Erslan – Minister of Displaced – Lebanese Democratic Party chief ( part of PSP’s share)
6- Yaacoub el Sarraf – Minister of National Defense, Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
7- Ali Kanso – Minister of State, Syrian Social Nationalist Party
8- Gebran Bassil – Minister of Foreign Affairs, FPM leader and noun’s son-in-law
9- Jamal el Jarrah – Telecom Minister- Future Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
10- Ghazi Zaaiter – Minister of Agriculture, Amal Movement header by Speaker Nabih Berri
11- Michel Pharaon – Minister of State, Future Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
12- Ali Hassan Khalil – Finance Minister, Amal Movement header by Speaker Nabih Berri
13- Mohammad Fneish – Minister of Sports, Hezbollah headed by Sec Gen. Hassan Nasrallah
14- Jean Ogasapian – Minister of State,for women’s rights Future Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
15- Hussein el Hajj Hassan – Minister of Industry, Hezbollah headed by Sec Gen. Hassan Nasrallah
16- Salim Jreissati – Minister of Justice, Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
17- Nohad el Machnouk – Minister of Interior, Future Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
18- Mohammad Kabbara – Ministry of Labor, Future Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
19- Moein al-Merehbi – Minister of State for affairs of refugees , Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
20- Ghattas Khoury – Minister of Culture , Movement headed by PM Saad Hariri
21- Pierre Raffoul – Minister of State, Presidential affairs , Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
22– Nicolas Tueni – Minister of State to fight corruption, Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
23- Tarek el Khatib – Environment Minister Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
24- Inaya Ezzedine – Minister of State, administrative development, Amal Movement header by Speaker Nabih Berri
25- Youssef Fenianos – Minister of Public Works , Marada Movement headed by Suleiman Franjieh
26- Melhem Riachi – Minister of Information , Lebanese Forces headed by Samir Geagea
27- Pierre Abi Assi- Minister of Social Affairs, Lebanese Forces headed by Samir Geagea
28- Ouadis Kedenian – Tourism Minister , Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
29- Cesar Abi Khalil- Minister of Energy & Water Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
30- Raed Khoury- Minister of Economy & Trade , Change and Reform bloc headed by President Michel Aoun
ONE WOMAN ONLY IN THE CABINET: Inaya Ezzedine
9 ministers were named by president Aoun. NUMBER 6,8, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29,30
13 anti Syrian ministers were named by PM Hariri.NUMBER 1, 2, 3, 4, 9,11,14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 27
8 pro- Syrian monsters were named by Hezbollah, Speaker Berri NUMBERS 5, 7, 10, 12, 13,15,24,25,