“Finally… the national-unity cabinet is born,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Monday night to the Lebanese people, who had been awaiting its formation after almost five months of impasse, deliberation, proposals and counteroffers between the newly appointed Prime Minister and the opposition.
Hariri made his announcement from the Presidential Palace in Baabda after the cabinet was publicly decreed following his meeting with President Michel Sleiman. Speaker Nabih Berri had also joined their meeting to help put the finishing touches on the lineup.
Lebanon’s national unity government is based on the 15-10-5 cabinet formula, which grants the majority 15 ministers, the opposition 10 and the president five.
“We turned a new page,” Hariri said, voicing hope it will be one of agreement and cooperation in Lebanon.
A similar statement was issued earlier on Monday by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun as he announced the names of the Change and Reform bloc’s prospective ministers. “We turned the page to ensure a better future for Lebanon and to confront all challenges,” he said, adding, “We cannot but overcome the past’s negative times and move toward the future.”
In his speech Hariri said that the cabinet will either allow the Lebanese to renew trust in their institutions or repeat their failure in achieving consensus. He said he hopes the cabinet will work for Lebanon's best interests, face economic problems, launch a major legislative workshop and fully implement the Taif Accord.
Hariri also said he hopes the cabinet will be unified against Israeli threats and eager to liberate Lebanon’s occupied lands. He concluded his speech with a promise to work with everyone for Lebanon’s best interests.
International congratulations followed shortly after the cabinet formation. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner welcomed the government formation and reiterated his country’s support for Hariri.
Also, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams congratulated Hariri and Sleiman for the cabinet formation. He said that the UN looks forward to the new government’s firm and complete commitment to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
The detailed cabinet lineup was announced by the Cabinet Secretary General Suheil Bouji, who declared the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government and the appointment of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister.
Prime Minister: Saad Hariri (Sunni/Future Movement)
- Deputy Prime Minister & Defense Minister: Elias al-Murr (Orthodox)
- Interior Minister: Ziad Baroud (Maronite)
- State Minister: Adnan al-Kassar (Sunni)
- State Minister: Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein (Shia)
- State Minister: Mona Ofeish (Orthodox)
- Information Minister: Tarek Mitri (Orthodox)
- Economy and Trade Minister: Mohammad Safadi (Sunni/ March 14 Independent)
- Labor Minister: Boutros Harb (Maronite/ March 14 Independent)
- State Minister: Michel Pharaon (Catholic/ March 14 Independent)
- Environment Minister: Mohammad Rahhal (Sunni)
- Finance Minister: Rayya al-Haffar al-Hassan (Sunni)
- Education Minister: Hassan Mneimneh (Sunni)
- State Minister: Jean Ogassapian (Armenian Orthodox)
Progressive Socialist Party:
- Public Works Minister: Ghazi Aridi (Druze)
- Displaced Minister: Akram Chehayeb (Druze)
- State Minister: Wael Abu Faour (Druze)
- Justice Minister: Ibrahim Najjar: (Orthodox/Lebanese Forces Party)
- Culture Minister: Salim Wardeh (Catholic/Lebanese Forces Party)
- Minister of Social Affairs: Salim Sayegh (Maronite/Kataeb Party)
Change and Reform:
- Telecommunications Minister: Charbel Nahhas (Catholic/Free Patriotic Movement)
- Tourism Minister: Fadi Abboud (Maronite/Free Patriotic Movement)
- Energy Minister: Gebran Bassil (Maronite/Free Patriotic Movement)
- Industry Minister: Abraham Dedeyan (Armenian Orthodox/Tashnaq Party)
- State Minister: Youssef Saadeh (Maronite /Marada Movement)
- Youth and Sports Minister: Ali Abdullah (Shia/Amal Movement)
- Health Minister: Mohammad Jawad Khalifeh (Shia/Amal Movement)
- Foreign Affairs Minister: Ali Shami (Shia/Amal Movement)
- Minister of Agriculture: Hussein Hajj Hassan (Shia/Hezbollah)
- State minister for Administrative reform: Mohammad Fneish (Shia/Hezbollah)