Lebanese political crisis not over with new cabinet
While the formation of a national unity government is an important step towards stability in Lebanon, the country's political crisis is far from resolved, analysts cautioned on Saturday.
A new 30-member cabinet that gives the Hezbollah-led opposition veto power on decisions and includes one minister from the militant group was announced on Friday, seven weeks after an accord, which saved Lebanon from the brink of renewed civil war.
"The birth of the cabinet puts an end to one crisis, but it does not fundamentally resolve the political crisis... or eliminate political differences," Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre, told AFP.
"The cabinet's principal purpose is preparing for elections, which opens the door to negotiations, but it isn't an easy challenge to face."
The opposition had waged a campaign against the government that plunged the country into a debilitating political crisis, culminating in widespread clashes that killed 65 people in May and saw a Hezbollah-led takeover of large swathes of west Beirut.
An accord struck in Qatar late May put an end to the street fighting and called for the election of army chief Michel Sleiman as president after a six month vacuum and for the formation of a national unity cabinet.
Political wrangling between the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority and the opposition, backed by Iran and Syria, prolonged the cabinet's formation.
The government's first task in accordance with the constitution is to put out a political declaration, which requires a parliamentary vote of confidence.