Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, has appointed a new 30 cabinet member Lebanese government. The new government is dominated by Hezbollah allies who hold 18 of the 30 cabinet positions.The Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah takes a leading position in the newly appointed Lebanese government. The group, though only having two members in the cabinet, commands a vast government majority through its supporters. The two Hezbollah cabinet positions are telecommunications and justice.
Mikati was charged with appointing a new government following Hezbollahs withdrawing support for Hariri’s pro US pro Saudi government in January leading to the collapse of the coalition.
Hezbollah withdrew support given the refusal of Hariri to disavow the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Netherlands based investigation into the assassination of ex premier Rafiq Hariri in 2005 following which Syria was forced to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. The tribunal is expected to point responsibility at Hezbollah and Syria for the attack.
One of the main challenges for the new government will be how it reacts to the tribunal.
The cabinet, which contains no women, has already suffered its first hit with the resignation of Druze cabinet member Talal Arslan due to dissatisfaction with his post.
Hariri, the leader of the nationalist anti Syrian “March 14th” movement in Lebanon, has boycotted the new government and condemned it as a “Hezbollah government”. Hezbollah’s main patron in the region is the Syrian Bashar Assad regime who maintains its influence in Lebanon through the Shiite organisation. Assad welcomed the formation of the new government.
The US administration, who considers Hezbollah a terrorist organisation, has said the new government will effect relations with the US.