Monday, June 13, 2011
Aoun big winner in new Lebanese cabinet
fter some four and a half months of wrangling Lebanon finally got his new government under prime minister Najib Miqati. A new goverment had to be formed after Hezbollah and its allies sent the coalition of Saad Hariri packing at the beginning of this year.
The 30 strong cabinet is mainly composed of the ''8 March coalition, Hezbollah, the other Shiite movement Amal, the Free Patriottic Movement (FPM) of general Michel Aoun, and a few splinters. It also includes a number of “independents” from Walid Jumblatt’s PSP, and a few ministers allied with President Suleiman and Prime Minister Miqati.
The newspaper Daily Star reports that in the new cabinet, (president) Sleiman was alloted three ministers, (Prime Minister) Mikati seven and Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt three, leaving the March 8 coalition per se with 18 seats. Hezbollah and Amal got two seats each. The biggest chunk of the seats went to Free Patriotic Movement leader (general) Michel Aoun and his Christian allies - the Marada Movement and Tashnag. Aoun and his allies took 10 seats, while the Syrian Social Nationalist Party as well as Talal Arslan and Nicolas Fattoush were given one each.
As anticipated, the biggest winner today is Michel Aoun. Having spent 15 years in the political wilderness, he returned to Lebanon in 2005 from his Parisian exile to find Saad al-Hariri and Walid Jumblatt rebuffing his demands for a seat at the big kids’ table. Aoun sat out Saniora’s government and then endured the disappointment of the 2009 elections, which failed to deliver the parliamentary majority he seemed intent on getting. Two years later, he finally gets to play the role of the political heavyweight in a Lebanese cabinet.
Qifa Nabki has also a list 0of the new cabinet members.