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Lebanese parliament approves unity government

The Cabinet includes most of the country's political groups [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 December, 2016

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Lebanon's parliament has overwhelmingly approved a national unity Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Lebanon's parliament has overwhelmingly approved a national unity cabinet headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The vote of confidence on Wednesday came after lawmakers heard and debated the new government's policy statement, outlining its priorities for the coming months.

The 128-member assembly approved the new Cabinet 87 to 4, with one abstention. Only 92 members attended the session.

A new 30-member national unity Cabinet headed by Hariri was announced on Dec 18, nearly two months after a new president was elected, and the premier vowed that his top priority would be to protect the country from the effects of the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

The cabinet includes most of the country's political groups. The Shia militant group Hizballah holds two seats.

The cabinet's most urgent task will be to oversee new legislative elections in 2017, after the vote was postponed over the past years due to security concerns.

The election of a new president and the successful formation of the government have led to some cautious optimism among Lebanese, who have been drained by years of spillover from regional conflicts, economic difficulties and strained relations with the Gulf countries that accounted for a big share of tourist spending and investment in the country. 

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