Siniora to head Lebanon government

President Michel Sleiman asks incumbent PM to form a new unity administration.

    Siniora is the majority bloc's choice to lead
    Lebanon's new cabinet [AFP]
    "We did not nominate Prime Minister Siniora as a challenge, but for reconciliation and to turn the page," Saad al-Hariri, the coalition government's majority leader, said after informing Sleiman of his choice.
    Lebanon's constitution requires the president to appoint the candidate backed by the largest number of legislators.
    Siniora's appointment follows a deal, mediated by Qatar, that ended 18 months of conflict between Lebanon's governing coalition and the opposition.
    "It's not a huge surprise but it's an important step to implementing the agreement that was signed in Doha," Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Beirut, said.
    Sleiman himself was elected president on Sunday as a result of the Qatar-mediated deal.
    Soldier killed
    The Qatar agreement was reached after more than 70 people were killed in clashes in cities across the country. Tensions on the street are still simmering.
    A soldier was killed during a gunfight between Hezbollah supporters and pro-government loyalists on Tuesday, Lebanese security officials said.
    Hussein Mohammed Janadin was caught in the crossfire in the clash at a military post in the village of Aramoun, south of Beirut, officials said.
    The soldier is the first person to die as a result of fighting between supporters of political factions since the power-sharing deal.
    Tuesday's fighting came a day after nine people were injured in a gunfight in Beirut, shortly after a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general.
    The clashes suggest that while Lebanon's leaders have worked out an accord, their respective supporters may be more reluctant to observe the political détente.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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