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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Lebanon PM forms new government
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati
Mikati appears to have won over the opposition despite ties to Damascus
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has formed a new government, ending six weeks of deadlock in which Lebanon has been without a government.

The 14 ministers represent the two political camps that have been in a stand-off for weeks - the pro-Syrians and the opposition.

Mr Mikati was appointed last week to head a government that will lead the country to elections set for May.

He has now promised to hold the polls within the constitutional deadline.

The new government has less than two weeks to win a confidence vote in parliament - whose term is due to end at the end of May - and pass new electoral laws in time for the elections to be held.

Under Lebanese law, an election must be called at least a month before it is due to start.


The key ministries of justice and interior have been given to Khalid Qabbani and Hasan al-Sab respectively, figures supported by the opposition, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Beirut.

Najib Mikati: Prime Minister
Ilyas al-Murr: Deputy prime minister and minister of defence
Mahmoud Hammoud: Foreign minister and minister of expatriates
Hasan al-Sab: Interior minister
Dimyanus Qattar: Minister of finance, economy and trade
Ghassan Salamah: Minister of education and higher education, and minister of culture
Adil Hamiyah: Minister of public works and transportation and minister of the displaced
Alain Taburyan: Minister of telecommunications and minister of youth and sport
Khalid Qabbani: Minister of justice
Bassam Yammin: Minister of trade and oil, and minister of energy and water
Charles Rizq: Minister of information and tourism
Muhammad Jawad Khalifah: Minister of public health and minister of social affairs
Tariq Mitri: Minister of environment and administrative development
Tarrad Humaydi: Minister of labour and minister of agriculture
Source: Government decree read out live on Lebanese LBC Sat TV

But another key post, the ministry of foreign affairs, remains in the hands of Mahmoud Hammoud, a pro-Syrian politician who is close to President Emile Lahoud, a top ally of Damascus in Beirut, our correspondent says.

Mr Sab will now be organising the country's crucial legislative elections which had been threatened by the political crisis.

None of the ministers will run in the election.

The assassination of Rafik Hariri precipitated a political crisis in Lebanon and the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, due to be completed by the end of April.

Opposition politicians and many Lebanese believe Syria was behind the assassination.

Mr Mikati, who has close ties to Syria, has nevertheless called for the resignation of senior security officials in Lebanon over the handling of the Hariri killing - a key opposition demand.

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