Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 09:54 UK

Hezbollah criticises cabinet plan

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah says Mr Hariri's proposal has complicated the situation

The leader of Hezbollah has criticised the Lebanese prime minister designate for proposing a national unity cabinet before agreeing it with the opposition.

Hassan Nasrallah said the move was inappropriate and would complicate efforts to form a new government.

Saad al-Hariri presented his proposed new cabinet unilaterally on Monday after failing to agree the line-up with the opposition bloc.

The list includes 10 opposition members among a total of 30 ministers.

Hezbollah was allocated two cabinet seats, but there was no agreement between the opposition and Mr Hariri's alliance about who should head which ministries.

"I do not believe this way of doing things will lift Lebanon from the crisis over the formation of the new government," Mr Nasrallah said in a televised speech late on Monday.

"It will make the problem more complicated," he added.

The opposition alliance of Shia Muslims and Christians has already rejected the proposal because of disputes over the distribution of key ministries.

The Lebanese president, Michel Suleiman, must now decide whether to accept the proposed cabinet.

Analysts said that without the opposition's backing, he is unlikely to accept Mr Hariri's proposal.

The son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was nominated as premier after elections on 7 June when his Western-backed alliance defeated the Hezbollah-led coalition backed by Syria and Iran.

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