Lebanese cabinet wins confidence vote

Photo: Lebanese cabinet wins confidence vote / Arab World

Lebanon's new government won the parliament's confidence vote on Thursday after a lengthy wrangle over the position of its powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement, Xinhua reported.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam's cabinet gained the parliament's approval on Thursday in a 96-to-four vote with one abstention.

According to Lebanon's constitution, a newly formed cabinet must ask for the parliament's vote of confidence within 30 days after formation.

Salam announced his 24-minister cabinet in mid-February, ending a ten-month political deadlock that left the country without leadership .

But the ministerial committee tasked with drafting a policy statement failed doing so after 12 meetings. A deep division hanged over the issue of Hezbollah's military role as well as the involvement of Lebanese parties in the Syrian conflict.

Salam even threatened with his resignation if the policy statement is not agreed upon.

The council of ministers, headed by President Michel Suleiman, finally agreed on the policy statement on Saturday.

The new Lebanese government was approved amid a widening domestic division as a result of the war in neighboring Syria.

The country's Sunni citizens largely back the Syrian rebels, while its Shiites, including Hezbollah, support the Syrian government by openly fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al- Assad's troops.

Now the new Lebanese cabinet will have to face a deteriorating security situation caused mainly by the Syrian crisis. They are also burdened with the influx of Syrian refugees, as well as securing future presidential elections.

According to the UN Higher Commission for Refugees, Lebanon is hosting more than 952,000 Syrian refugees. But Lebanese officials put the figure at about 1.2 million.

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