Lebanese government of April 2013

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The formation of a new government led by Tammam Salam followed two weeks of negotiations after the resignation of Najib Mikati's government. Salam's candidacy was backed by the March 14 Alliance, the Progressive Socialist Party, Najib Mikati and the Amal Movement.[citation needed]

The government will be the sixth one designated to oversee elections since Lebanon's independence in 1943 when the 2014 general election takes place.[1] A national unity government was announced on 15 February 2014. Despite his nomination by 124 of 128 MPs, Salam then failed to form a consensus government amidst political demands. Salam finally announced his proposed cabinet that included members from the March 8 and March 14 alliances, as well as independents on 15 February 2014.

Background[edit]

The Mikati government fell after Najib Mikati's resignation on 22 March 2013 over his attempt to form a committee to oversee the next general election in opposition to Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Hezbollah and Amal Movement ministers, as well as an attempt to extend the term of Major General Ashraf Rifi, the head of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), who was scheduled to retire in April,[2] due to a mandatory age limit.[3]

Nomination of Tammam Salam[edit]

Tammam Salam's emergence as the consensus candidate followed discussion in Saudi Arabia and also had the backing of March 14, Mikati and Amal. PSP leader Walid Jumblatt also supported him saying: "Salam is the voice of moderation... He’s never said a bad word against the resistance." Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora also said that he was a "unanimous" choice because of his "national and moral engagement. We wish Mr. Salam good luck in leading the country through the present circumstances." Salam then said: "It’s a great national responsibility...I thank my brothers in the March 14 coalition."[4] On 6 April, he got 124 of the 128 parliamentary votes to become prime minister and was consequently tasked by President Michel Suleiman to form a government.

Salam reacted in saying: "There is a need to bring Lebanon out of its state of division and political fragmentation, as reflected on the security situation, and to ward off the risks brought by the tragic situation in the neighbouring [Syria] and by regional tensions."[5] He also said that he intends to form a national unity government instead of a partisan one saying that "the consensus around my nomination is the biggest proof of the intention of political forces to save the country."[6] Future Movement leader Saad Hariri had said that he was willing to share power with Hezbollah if the cabinet formation deadlock was ended while Hezbollah abandoned a demand that it and its allies be given veto power in the new cabinet.[7]

Government formation[edit]

On 15 February 2014, Salam announced a national unity government of 24 ministers, including March 8 and March 14 alliances,[8] and independents. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon[9] and the European Union's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton welcomed the formation of the government.[10] While Salam said the government would "strengthen national security and stand against all kinds of terrorism" and face the social issue of about a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, it would also lead to the Lebanese presidential election, 2014.[7]

Composition[edit]

Lebanese government of April 2013
Portfolio (Ministry)[11][12] Minister Political affiliation Religious Sect
Independents (8/24)
President Michel Sleiman's Share (3/24)
Deputy Prime Minister
and Defence
Samir Mokbel      Independent Greek Orthodox
Displaced Alice Shabatiny      Independent Maronite
Youth and Sports Abdel Mouttaleb Hennaoui      Independent Shia
Prime Minister Tammam Salam's Share (3/24)
Prime Minister Tammam Salam      Independent Sunni
Environment Mohammed Machnouk      Independent Sunni
Social Affairs Rashid Derbass      Independent Sunni
National Struggle Front[citation needed] (2/24)
Public Health Wael Abou Faour      Progressive Socialist Party Druze
Agriculture Akram Chehayeb      Progressive Socialist Party Druze
March 8 Alliance (8/24)
Change and Reform bloc (4/24)
Foreign and Expatriates Gebran Bassil      Free Patriotic Movement Maronite
Education and Higher Learning Elias Abou Saab      Free Patriotic Movement Greek Orthodox
Culture Raymond "Rony" Araiji      Marada Movement Maronite
Energy and Water Arthur Nazarian      Tashnag Armenian Orthodox
Amal Movement (2/24)
Finance Ali Hassan Khalil      Amal Movement Shia
Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Zaiter      Amal Movement Shia
Loyalty to the Resistance bloc (2/24)
Industry Hussein Hajj Hassan      Hezbollah Shia
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammed Fneish      Hezbollah Shia
March 14 Alliance (8/24)
Future Movement (3/24)
Interior and Municipalities Nouhad Machnouk      Future Movement Sunni
Justice Ashraf Rifi      Future Movement Sunni
Minister of State for Administrative Development Nabil de Freige      Future Movement Latin
Kataeb Party (3/24)
Labour Sejaan Azzi      Kataeb Party Maronite
Information Ramzi Jreij      Kataeb Party Greek Orthodox
Economy and Trade Alain Hakim      Kataeb Party Greek Catholic
Others (2/24)
Tourism Michel Pharaon      Independent Greek Catholic
Telecommunications Boutros Harb      Independent Maronite

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nassif, Nicolas (9 April 2013). "Tammam Salam Interview: I Am Your Savior, Maybe". Al Akhbar. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mikati's Resignation Shakes Up". Al Monitor. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Lebanese president accepts premier's resignation". The Wenatchee World. Associated Press. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tammam Salam builds consensus to be Lebanon's new prime minister". Al Arabiya. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Lebanon picks Salam as new prime minister". Al Jazeera. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Mourtada, Hania (6 April 2013). "Sunni Leader Is Named Prime Minister in Lebanon". The New York Times (Beirut). Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Lebanon's PM forms 'unity cabinet'". The Irish Independent. 
  8. ^ "Lebanese PM unveils national unity cabinet". Al Jazeera. 15 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Security Council, Ban welcome formation of new Government in Lebanon". United Nations. 
  10. ^ "Ashton congratulate Tammam Salam on the formation of the new government". iloubnan.info. 
  11. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.574385
  12. ^ http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb/en/show-news/21479/Names-of-ministers-announced-in-Cabinet-of-Tammam-Salam