After months of deadlock, Lebanon has new government

Newly-assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaks to journalists at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
Updated 01 February 2019
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After months of deadlock, Lebanon has new government

  • The new government describes itself as a consensus government
  • The politicians are confident the government will survive until the election of a new president three years from now

BEIRUT: After 252 days of political wrangling and increasingly serious economic struggles, the political factions in Lebanon finally announced the formation of a national unity government on Thursday night. Fireworks displays were among the celebrations that erupted after the announcement.
Led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the new government describes itself as a consensus government; ministerial posts are distributed between all political parties without any one having a casting vote in the cabinet. The politicians are confident the government will survive until the election of a new president three years from now.
The Future Movement’s Rhea Al-Hassan becomes the first female interior minister in the country’s history. In all, four women are included in the government, double the previous number.
The Kataeb Lebanese party is not represented for a second consecutive time. For the first time, the Sunni opposition is represented after it was handed the portfolio of the minister of state for foreign trade affairs.
Three decrees were issued by the new government announcing the resignation of the former government, conforming Saad Hariri as Prime Minister and naming the new ministers.
The Future Movement and its allies are represented by: Al-Hassan; Mohammed Choucair as minister of communications; Jamal Al-Jarrah as minister of information; Violette Khairallah as state minister for social and economic rehabilitation for youth and women; and Adel Afyouni as state minister for information technology affairs.
Lebanese Forces is represented by: Ghassan Atallah as deputy prime minister; May Chidiac as state minister for administrative development; Richard Kyumjian as social affairs minister; and Kamil Abou Sleiman as labor minister.
The ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and its allies are: Mohammad Fneish as youth and sports minister, Mahmoud Qamati as state minister for parliament affairs; and Jamil Sobhi Jabaq as health minister.
The Amal movement is represented by: Ali Hassan Khalil as finance minister; Hassan Al-Lakis as agriculture minister; and Mohammad Daoud Daoud as culture minister.
From the Strong Lebanon Bloc, Gebran Bassil kept his seat as minister of foreign affairs; Elias Abou Saab is defense minister, Nada Boustany is energy and water minister; Salim Jreissati is state minister for presidential affairs; Fadi Jreissati is environment minister; Albert Serhan is justice minister and Mansour Bteish is economy and trade minister.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is represented by Avedis Kidanian as tourism minister and Ghassan Atallah as displaced minister, while the representatives of the Democratic Gathering Bloc are Wael Abou Faour as industry minister and Akram Chouhayeb as education minister. Saleh al-Gharib represents Druze leader Talal Erslan as state minister for refugees affairs, and Marada is represented by Youssef Finianos, who keeps his seat as public works and transport minister. Hassan Mrad, representing the Sunni opposition, was appointed state minister for foreign trade affairs.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced after a meeting of the party’s parliamentary bloc that he had agreed to compromise and swap the culture ministerial portfolio to clear the way for the formation of the government after some had tried to disable the country with “unreasonable demands.”


Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. (Supplied)
Updated 21 April 2019
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Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

CAIRO: Here are key events in eight years of turmoil and transition in Egypt, leading up to a national referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

● Feb. 11, 2011: Autocrat Hosni Mubarak steps down after 18 days of nationwide protests against his nearly 30-year rule. The military takes over, dissolving Parliament and suspending the constitution after the uprising leaves hundreds of protesters dead in clashes with security forces.

● Nov. 28, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood wins nearly half the seats in multi-stage elections for the first post-Mubarak Parliament.

● June 30, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Muhammad Mursi takes office as Egypt’s first freely elected president.

● Aug. 12, 2012: Mursi removes the defense minister and military chief, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and replaces him with El-Sisi.

● Nov. 22, 2012: Mursi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, a move that sparks days of protests.

● Dec. 15-22, 2012: Egyptians approve a constitution drafted and hastily passed by Parliament amid protests and walkouts by other groups.

● June 30, 2013: On Mursi’s anniversary in office, millions of Egyptians begin days of demonstrations demanding his resignation. The military gives him 48 hours to reach an agreement with his opponents, but he vows to remain in office.

● July 3, 2013: El-Sisi announces Mursi’s removal.

● Aug. 14, 2013: More than 600 people, mostly Mursi supporters, are killed when police clear two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo. Mursi supporters retaliate by torching government buildings, churches and police stations. Hundreds more die in subsequent violence.

● Dec. 25, 2013: The government designates the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

● May 26-28, 2014: Egyptians vote in a presidential election. El-Sisi wins with 96.9 percent of the vote.

● May 16, 2015: Mursi and more than 100 others are sentenced to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising.

● Oct. 2015: Egypt holds parliamentary elections, leading to an assembly packed with El-Sisi supporters.

● April 2, 2018: El-Sisi wins a second, four-year term in office, with more than 97 percent of the vote.
● Feb. 2019: Lawmakers submit proposed amendments to the constitution that allow El-Sisi to remain in power beyond his current second four-year term.

● April 10: President Donald Trump welcomes El-Sisi to the White House for a second official visit.

● April 17: The Parliament, packed with El-Sisi’s supporters, overwhelmingly passes the proposed amendments.

● April 18: Egypt’s National Election Authority schedules three days of voting in a nationwide referendum on the amendments. The vote takes place Saturday through Monday.