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Lebanon''s PM proposes new government to Lahoud - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BEIRUT(Reuters) – Lebanon”s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Friday he had proposed a new government line-up to President Emile Lahoud that includes members of parliament and political parties.

Siniora said he proposed the 24-minister line-up after abandoning efforts to seek a government of technocrats following strong opposition from his allies. He said he was expecting to hear a reply from Lahoud soon.

The proposed government excludes supporters of Christian leader Michel Aoun, head of the largest Christian bloc in the 128-seat parliament, reducing prospects Lahoud would approve it.

&#34I proposed to the president a version consisting of 24 ministers which I do believe has the backing of over 100 members of parliament,&#34 Siniora told reporters after meeting Lahoud, a close Syria ally.

&#34I think this is very democratically representative of the parliament and the best that one can come up with.&#34

Siniora, a member of a coalition that pushed for Syria”s pullout from Lebanon, said on Thursday he would seek to form a government of technocrats after failing to win agreement on a cabinet drawn from the various political groups.

But problems quickly emerged when anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt informed Siniora he would not cooperate in forming such a cabinet and that his 16-member bloc would vote against it in parliament, forcing the prime minister to drop the idea.

A new government would be the first since Syria ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon in April. It faces many challenges including restoring stability following bombings and assassinations, political reform and tackling a huge debt.

It also has to deal with a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding the disarming of anti-Israeli Hizbollah guerrillas.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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