Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lebanon has a cabinet!

Well, well, Lebanon has a cabinet. Akhiran! After almost five months of wrangling and talking and foot-dragging. It seems that the task of Hariri jr, the prime minister became somewhat easier after king Abdullah visted Damascus a while ago and Syria and Saudi-Arabia became closer.
It's a national cabinet, consisting of 30 ministers according to the formula: 15-10-5, which means that 15 of them belong to the 14 March coalition of Saad Hariri, 10 to the oppositional  8 March coalition, and 5 have been nominated by president Sleiman.
Two things were  worth to be mentioned: The christian Kataeb party of Amin Gemayel (14 March) was not happy with the fact that it got only one ministry (Social Affairs) and that it wasn't Education. It threatened to withdraw from the coalition but didn't do it after all (at least not yet).
Th other thing was that among the ten ministers of the 8 March coalition there are two ministers belonging to Hezbollah, while also one of the ministers appointed by president Sleiman is close to Hezbollah. This is important. There is a clause that one third plus one of the ministers is able to block unwelcome proposals. Ten opposition ministers plus one appointed one might, for instance, block a proposal to view Hizbollah differently than as a force that embodies the resistance in the South against Israel and as such has the right to carry arms.
Apart from these facts it's also worth mentioning that Hariri's 14 March coalition in fact no longer constitutes a majority,  after the Druze PSP defected to the other side some three months ago. This is not a factor that promises stability. But for a learned opinion about the rest it is better to pay a visit to the site of Qifa Nabki.  He also has a list of names.

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