Lebanon agrees new government to tackle economic crisis

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Lebanese leaders has agreed a new government after a year of political feuding over cabinet seats due to economic collapse.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni Muslim, and President Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian, signed a decree establishing the government in the presence of Nabih Berri, the Shia Muslim speaker of parliament.

“The breakthrough followed a flurry of contacts from France which has led efforts to get Lebanon’s fractious leaders to agree to a cabinet and begin reforms since last year’s catastrophic Beirut port explosion.”

The crisis, which has forced three quarters of the population into poverty, is the biggest threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

A senior central bank official Youssef Khalil, and aide to governor Riad Salameh, was named finance minister in the proposed new cabinet line-up.

“The new one is expected to comprise ministers with technical expertise who are not prominent politicians but have been named by the main parties.”

Political sources said there had been intensive contacts through the night to try to reach an agreement.

The cabinet formation has been derailed repeatedly by disagreements among political factions over the distribution of cabinet seats.

READ ALSO: Lebanon: Fuel Prices rise by 66% amid partial subsidy removal

 

Kamila/Reuters

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