Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Fouad Siniora says he is looking to form a government of 24 ministers who are not members of parliament or political parties. Siniora, a member of a coalition that pushed for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, did in fact present a 30-member government to President Emile Lahoud on Tuesday. That line-up included Lebanon’s main political groups.
But it became clear that the president could not approve it because of strong reservations by Christian leader Michel Aoun and a pro-Syrian Shi’ite Muslim coalition over their representation.
Lahoud, an ally of Damascus, held on to his post despite the anti-Syrian alliance winning the general election.
The vote followed the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon – something demanded by protestors after former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a car bombing in February. On Tuesday the outgoing defence minister Elias al-Murr, son-in-law of the president, survived an assassination attempt that killed two other people.