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Lebanon’s new government based on mutual oversight

After a governmental vacuum that lasted 11 months, Lebanese parties have finally formed a government based on Sunni and Shiite groups providing a supervisory role to the other, with Christians serving as mediators.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (C) walks at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut February 15, 2014. Lebanon announced a new government on Saturday, breaking a 10-month political deadlock during which spillover violence from neighbouring Syria worsened internal instability. Parliament designated Sunni lawmaker Salam 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, l

Nearly 11 months after the resignation of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati on March 22, 2013 and the ensuing leadership vacuum, the new Lebanese government was finally formed on Feb. 15. The cabinet is headed by Beirut member of parliament Tammam Salam, who belongs to the coalition of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and comprises 24 ministers carefully chosen to ensure balance between religions, sects, parties and ministerial portfolios in an extremely complicated formula specific to the Lebanese situation.

There are two important aspects about this government. First, it seems as though roles have been reversed for the three most prominent political and religious powers in the country. Second, there is a state of anticipation as this government heads into its first challenge: agreeing on a new ministerial statement from among three proposed choices and with a constitutional deadline of 30 days to win the trust of the Lebanese parliament, or the government will be considered resigned.

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