Miqati forms new Lebanese cabinet

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Miqati has formed a new government, paving the way for crucial legislative elections by a May deadline.

    The PM described his new cabinet as diversified and balanced

    The prime minister announced at a press conference on Tuesday his new 14-member government, made up of political and business figures who would not be running in the coming elections.

    "It is a cabinet of non-candidates" in the coming legislative polls, he said, ending more than six weeks of impasse in trying to set up a government in Lebanon.

    Miqati said his new cabinet would meet later on Tuesday, and that he would present the setup to the parliament next week to win a confidence vote.

    He described his new cabinet as diversified and balanced, representing all the Lebanese sects, and said the election issue would top its agenda.
    "Legislative elections is one of the prime goals of my government," Miqati told the press conference.

    Security shake-up

    The prime minister also renewed his call for security chiefs to resign.

    "I demanded the resignation of the security chiefs when I was [lawmaker] Najib Miqati... Now I'm prime minister and I will relay my point of view to the cabinet ... and I promise that it will agree with me," he said   

    "Legislative elections is one of the prime goals of my government"

    Najib Miqati,
    Lebanese prime minister

    The resignation of the pro-Syrian security chiefs has been a key demand of the anti-Damascus opposition.

    The new cabinet comprises Mahmud Hammud as foreign minister and Ilyas al-Mur as both deputy prime minister and defence minister.

    Aljazeera reporter Bushra Abd al-Samad said Miqati avoided talking about reservations the opposition might have over some names in his new government, particularly Hammud and al-Mur.


    Miqati said that while some would have reservations about the new cabinet, many people would support it, she added.


    Acceptable government


    An opposition parliament member told Aljazeera the new government appeared to be acceptable.


    "It seems acceptable to me. This is my initial opinion about the government. Cases of the interior and justice ministries have been dealt with in an acceptable way," Walid Ido said.


    "However, we will wait to see what the government will do in the coming few days about our demands," he added.


    Ido said dealing with Lebanese security leaders was the main subject at hand.


    "We will view the government, its work and our trust in it through what it will do towards security apparatuses.


    "This issue is related to the international investigation team and our demand - which has become a public, national one - to put an end to the mess caused by security leaders who are misusing the political and general situation in Lebanon," he added.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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