A senior political source said in Beirut on Monday the government would include 30 mainly pro-Syrian ministers and that a final announcement on the figures was imminent.

 

The formation of the cabinet had been delayed by last-minute squabbles over an election law and key portfolios.

   

The agreement was reached at a meeting between President Emile Lahud, Prime Minister Umar Karami and Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri.

 

The new government's main task will be drawing up a draft law organising general elections set for May and supervising the polls that will be held after Syria completes the pullout of its forces from Lebanon by the end of April.

   

The process of approving the draft and having parliament pass it as a law is expected to take several weeks, making a delay in holding the polls almost inevitable.

   

Lebanon's anti-Syrian opposition as well as the United States, France and the United Nations have called on the pro-Damascus authorities to hold the elections on schedule.