Lebanon's Siniora begins talks on forming cabinet

Prime Minister-designate Fouad Siniora began talks with Lebanese lawmakers on Friday on forming a national unity government in which Hezbollah-led minority factions will wield veto power.

Lebanon's Siniora begins talks on forming cabinet
A Qatari-mediated deal earlier this month ended a standoff between the U.S.-backed ruling coalition and the opposition.

Under the agreement, majority factions will be allocated 16 ministers, the opposition 11 and the president three.

Lebanon's new president, former army chief Michel Suleiman, reappointed Siniora prime minister on Wednesday, asking him to form a cabinet set to rule until a 2009 parliamentary election.

Siniora will consult members of parliament from across the political spectrum in talks expected to last into next week.

Suleiman himself is likely to have a big say in selecting a neutral figure for the post of interior minister, who will have the task of overseeing the parliamentary elections.

While the Doha agreement resolved a dispute over electoral constituencies, conduct of the elections is a sensitive issue in Lebanon's delicate sectarian power-sharing system.

The Qatar agreement reflected the new balance of power by enshrining the opposition's long-standing demand for veto power.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mayıs 2008, 17:51
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