After Months of Deadlock, Lebanon Has a New Cabinet!

Lebanese President Michel Aoun-PM Saad Hariri

After nine months of political wrangling and increasingly serious economic struggles, the political factions in Lebanon finally announced the formation of a national unity government on Thursday night.

The new government describes itself as a consensus government; ministerial posts are distributed between all political parties without any one having a casting vote in the cabinet.

Three decrees were issued by the new government announcing the resignation of the former government, conforming Saad Hariri as Prime Minister and naming the new ministers.

Prime Minister Hariri told media outlets the economy will be his Cabinet’s main priority.

“It has been a difficult political period, especially after the elections, and we must turn the page and start working,” he said at a press conference.

The new cabinet’s ministers are:

The Future Movement and its allies are represented by:
Raya Al-Hassan as minister of Interior.
Mohammed Choucair as minister of communications.
Jamal Al-Jarrah as minister of information.
Violette Khairallah el Safadi as state minister for social and economic rehabilitation for youth and women.
Adel Afyouni as state minister for information technology affairs.

Lebanese Forces is represented by:
Ghassan Atallah as deputy prime minister.
May Chidiac as state minister for administrative development.
Richard Kyumjian as social affairs minister.
Kamil Abou Sleiman as labor minister.

The ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and its allies are:
Mohammad Fneish as youth and sports minister.
Mahmoud Qamati as state minister for parliament affairs.
Jamil Sobhi Jabaq as health minister.

The Amal movement is represented by:
Ali Hassan Khalil as finance minister.
Hassan Al-Lakis as agriculture minister.
Mohammad Daoud Daoud as culture minister.

From the Strong Lebanon Bloc:
Gebran Bassil as minister of foreign affairs.
Elias Abou Saab is defense minister.
Nada Boustany is energy and water minister. Salim Jreissati is state minister for presidential affairs.
Fadi Jreissati is environment minister.
Albert Serhan is justice minister.
Mansour Bteish is economy and trade minister.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is represented by:
Avedis Kidanian as tourism minister.
Ghassan Atallah as displaced minister.

The representatives of the Democratic Gathering Bloc are:
Wael Abou Faour as industry minister
Akram Chouhayeb as education minister.
Saleh al-Gharib represents Druze leader
Talal Erslan as state minister for refugees affairs, and

Marada is represented by Youssef Finianos, who keeps his seat as public works and transport minister.

Hassan Mrad, representing the Sunni opposition, was appointed state minister for foreign trade affairs.

This comes as Lebanon faces public debt amounting to an alarming $84 billion, or 155 percent of the gross domestic product, while the unemployment rate stands at around 36 percent. The country is also dealing with ailing infrastructure. Moreover the cabinet will be able to unlock billions of dollars in aid pledged at last year’s CEDRE conference in Paris, where the World Bank promised Lebanon $4 billion in soft loans. Other countries and financial institutions also vowed to fund investment and infrastructure projects.