Lebanon unveils new government after 13-month impasse | News | DW | 10.09.2021

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Lebanon unveils new government after 13-month impasse

Billionaire businessman Najib Mikati has named his Cabinet as Lebanon faces one of the toughest crises in its history.

Watch video 02:09

Lebanon unveils new government amid economic crisis

Lebanon has formed a new government, its leaders announced on Friday, following 13 months of political squabbling.

Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun said that the new Cabinet will meet on Monday for the first time.

What do we know so far?

Political sources said intensive communication throughout Thursday night finally led to the creation of the Cabinet of 24 ministers. Observers hope a change in leadership could bring the troubled Middle Eastern state out of its current political and economic crisis.

"The situation is difficult, we all know it, but it is not impossible if we unite as Lebanese and put our hands together," Makati said in an emotional address. "We will reopen our doors to the Arab world and we hope we can stop the current collapse and return Lebanon to prosperity."     

The deal between PM-designate Mikati and President Aoun comes after months of disagreement over the distribution of Cabinet seats between different parties.

Watch video 02:28

Lebanon's financial crisis leaves hospitals struggling

One of the factions, the Hezbollah group deemed a terrorist organization by the EU and the US, will name two out of 24 ministers, sources confirmed.

Senior central bank official Youssef Khalil will be the new finance minister and Abdallah Abu Habib will take over as foreign minister after his posting as Lebanon's ambassador to Washington.

Judge Bassam Mawlawi is set to become the country's new interior minister. 

How deep is the crisis?

Lebanon has been without a fully empowered government since the 2020 Beirut port explosion that killed over 200 people.

The incident caused political instability and increased poverty levels, bringing up prices of food and fuel as the currency plummeted to 90% of its original value.

Western powers have raised their concerns about the situation that led to a crime wave as people grew ever more desperate.

The World Bank described the crisis as one of the worst in recent times. Three-quarters of Lebanon's population is now below the poverty line.

Former-Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri gave up on forming government earlier this year, blaming Hezbollah-allied Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement party for wanting too much power.

jc, wd/dj (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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