A caretaker government has run the country since former Prime
Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March as parties aligned with
the Shi'ite Hezbollah movement and a Sunni-led rival bloc
pursued a power struggle exacerbated by their support for
opposing sides in Syria's almost three-year-old civil war.
"A government in the national interest was formed in a spirit of
inclusivity," new Prime Minister Tammam Salam declared on live
He said he hoped the new government would allow Lebanon to hold
presidential elections before President Michel Suleiman's
mandate expires in May and finally conduct parliamentary polls
that were postponed last year due to the political impasse.
"This comprehensive government is the best formation to
represent Lebanon as it faces its political, security, economic
and social challenges," Salam said.
Parliament designated the Sunni lawmaker as prime minister in
April 2013, but he had been unable to form a government for
months due to rivalries between the Hezbollah-dominated March 8
bloc and the March 14 alliance, led by the Sunni Future Party.
Among the top posts announced, former Energy Minister Gebran
Bassil, from the March 8 bloc, becomes foreign minister. Former
Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, also from March 8, takes the
finance portfolio. Nouhad Machnouk, a March 14 legislator, was
named interior minister.
(Writing by Erika Solomon; editing by Alistair Lyon)
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