Published: Tue, December 20, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Lebanon unveils coalition government after a two-year wait

The Secretary-General congratulated Prime Minister Saad Hariri on the swift process and encourages Lebanon's political leaders to build on the momentum of national unity, and paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Tamman Salam for his leadership, the statement added.

The new government will have "at the top of its list of priorities to preserve security against the fires ravaging our region", Mr Hariri said of the new line-up in a media conference on Sunday night.

On October 31, Lebanese legislators elected Aoun as president, ending a 29-month presidential vacuum.

The broad new government incompasses members from all main Muslim and Christian political parties except for the Christian Phalangist Party, which turned down a post.

The country's complex power-sharing system stipulates that the president should always be a Maronite, Lebanon's largest Christian denomination.

The four key ministerial portfolios-the Finance Minister, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Interior Ministry-were given to Ali Hasan Khalil, Gebran Bassil, Yaacoub Sarraf, and Nouhad Machnouk, respectively, according to Lebanon's The Daily Star newspaper.

Hariri's father was Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, whose 2005 assassination was blamed on Hezbollah.

Lebanon finally has a new government, a development which could help end more than two years of political deadlock in the country.

Along with the crisis in Syria, Hariri also must deal with a stagnant economy, which has led to a breakdown of many government services in Lebanon.

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