Lebanon's Siniora reveals plans for cabinet shake-up

Lebanon's Siniora reveals plans for cabinet shake-up
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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.
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