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LEBANON - Oct. 26 - Hariri Forms Govt.

Named PM on Oct. 23 after he got backing from 106 of parliament's 128 MPs, Rafic Hariri forms a cabinet and he is the first PM in this country who does not hold a ministerial portfolio.

Prime Minister: Rafic Hariri, Sunni (billionaire, succeeding Dr. Selim Al Hoss). Deputy Premier: Issam Fares, Greek Orthodox (billionaire from the north). Interior: Elias Mur, G.Orthodox (son of Michel Mur & son-in-law of Pres. Lahoud). Foreign Affairs & Emigres: Mahmoud Hammoud, Shiite (prominent diplomat). Defence: Khalil Hrawi, Maronite (son of MP & nephew of ex-Pres. Elias Hrawi). Finance: Fuad Siniora, Sunni. Industry: George Ephrem, maronite (prominent industrialist). Public Works & Transport: Najib Miqati, Sunni (prominent businessman). Information: Ghazi Aridi, Druze (of Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party). The Displaced: Marwan Hemadeh, Druze (of Jumblatt's PSP). Education & Higher Learning: Abdel Rahim Murad, Sunni. Culture: Ghassan Salameh, Greek Catholic (prominent intellectual). Environment: Michel Moussa, Greek Catholic. Justice: Samir Al Jisr, Sunni. Public Health: Sleiman R. Franjieh, Maronite (grand-son of late Pres. Franjieh). Labour: Ali Qanso, Shiite. Social Affairs: Asaad Diab, Shiite. Economy & Commerce: Basel Fleihan, Protestant. Agriculture: Ali Ajaj Abdullah, Shiite. Communications: Jean Louis Qerdahi, Maronite. Tourism: Dr. Karam Karam, Greek Orthodox. Energy & Hydraulic Resources: Mohammed Abdel Hamid Baydoun, Shiite. State for Administrative Reform: Fuad Al Saad, Maronite. State for Youths & Sports: Sebouh Hofnanian, Armenian Orthodox. State: Michel Pharaon, G. Catholic (business man son of late MP Pierre Pharaon). State: Nazih Habib Baydoun, Shiite. State: Talal Arslan, Druze. State: Bahije Tabbara, Sunni. State: Pierre Helou, Maronite.

Differences erupted during the week over the cabinet. Prominent Maronite leaders attacked both Hariri and President Lahoud for having ignored them in portfolio distribution. Jumblatt, a Hariri ally during the recent parliamentary elections, accused Hariri of secretly agreeing on a cabinet list with Gen. Lahoud before the consultations. (Lahoud manoeuvred Hariri from power in 1998 as the president had strong Syrian support and Hariri's Syrian ally, Vice President Khaddam, was then falling out of grace in Damascus. But after President Hafez Al Assad died in June 2000 Syrian Chief of Staff Gen. Ali Aslan became the Damascus strongman behind the scenes and restored Khaddam's powers. New 34-year-old President Bashar Al Assad, a close ally of Lahoud and not impressed by Hariri, saw his powers being somewhat limited in Damascus and where his influences over Lebanon was concerned. As a result, Lahoud was compelled to co-operate with Hariri. This upset Jumblatt and other politicians as well as the Maronites. Hizbollah which has a 12-MP bloc in parliament, said it would not take part in a Hariri government because its policies concerning the south would be vague. In solidarity with the Armenian Tashnag Party which Hariri decimated before and during the elections and which was ignored in the cabinet formation, Hofnanian said on Oct. 27 he would not take part in Hariri's team until the differences were resolved. (Later it was said that, as a compromise with Damascus, Hariri would bring additional figures into the cabinet including one more Armenian and an Alawite. The Maronite leaders were upset further).
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Title Annotation:Rafiq Hariri
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Oct 28, 2000
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