Lebanon announces government after 8-month delay

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Lebanon announced the formation of a new national unity government line-up on Thursday, ending an eight-month wait that had heightened fears of a major economic collapse.

The new cabinet, unveiled during a press conference at the presidential palace, includes 30 ministers from Lebanon’s rival political clans.

The news boosted Lebanon’s bonds, with a 2037 dollar issue jumping in price by 4.3 cents to its highest since August.

The new line-up is to see four women take up office, including the interior and energy ministries.

Gibran Bassil is to remain as foreign minister, while Ali Hassan Khalil is also staying on in charge of the finance ministry.

Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri will face a big challenge in his third term in trying to deliver reforms to address the dire state finances and unlock billions of dollars in pledged aid and loans to boost low growth.

The new government will include most Lebanese political factions, who have been negotiating the make-up of the cabinet since a May 6 election, in which allies of Hezbollah group gained ground.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, from Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal party, and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the leader of President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, retained their positions, the presidency announced.

Lebanese Hezbollah chose the new health minister, Jamil Jabak, although he is not a member of the group, moving beyond the more marginal role it has played in past governments.

With agencies.

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