After 13 months of political bickering over the shape, form, and size of a new cabinet, Lebanon has a new government. The country is experiencing its worst economic and financial crisis, new coronavirus cases are surging, and many Lebanese have no power, gas or food.
The new government, headed by wealthy tycoon Najib Mikati, is made up of 24 ministers. Al Arabiya English breaks down who’s who in what will be Mikati’s third government.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati
Mikati is on path to become a three-time prime minister. The billionaire is annually listed as one of the Arab world’s wealthiest businessmen. He has previously been close to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his investment company most recently announced the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in Myanmar’s telecoms sector.
Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh al-Shami
Al-Shami previously worked for the MENA desk at the IMF and served on Lebanon's Capital Markets Authority.
Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib
Bou Habib was the Lebanese ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 1990. He also worked for the World Bank as an economist and as an advisor.
Defense Minister Maurice Slim
Slim is a retired Brigadier General who previously served at the head of the military hospital.
Finance Minister Youssef Khalil
Khalil was a senior official at the Central Bank of Lebanon and reportedly the architect of Lebanon's infamous “financial engineering.”
Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi
Mawlawi is a judge from north Lebanon.
Health Minister Firass Abiad
Abiad rose to national prominence after the coronavirus outbreak in Lebanon. He is the manager and CEO of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, which became Lebanon’s leading hospital in treating COVID-19 patients.
Energy Minister Walid Fayad
Fayad is the Managing Director for the MENA region at Partners in Performance. He has previously worked in senior roles at Booz Allen Hamilton and McKinsey.
Justice Minister Henri Khoury
Khoury is a retired judge and formerly was the head of the Shura Council.
Economy Minister Amin Salam
Salam is a lawyer who describes himself as an “International Law & Economic Development Executive.” DC-based professionals voiced their skepticism over Salam’s appointment to such a key ministry, which will be dealing with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a bailout and restructuring debt for Lebanon. He’s also the VP for Business Development for the National- US Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC).
Public Works Minister Ali Hamie
Congratulations to professor's. Ali hamie, Ministry of Public Works pic.twitter.com/PnhoLPzt3F— Ali Engineer (@Kassas1978) September 10, 2021
Hamie is a professor in optical telecommunications. According to his LinkedIn and Twitter, Hamie says he is a telecom expert in the Lebanese Parliament, a quality assurance specialist and a cybersecurity specialist. He holds French citizenship and is one of two Hezbollah-appointed ministers.
Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar
Hajjar is a dentist by trade and has formed several organizations to serve underprivileged communities and those with special needs.
Education Minister Abbas Halabi
Halabi is a former judge and on the Board of Directors and Legal Counsel at the Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries (BBAC).
Information Minister George Kordahi
Kordahi is a media personality, and TV presenter who became the first Arab presenter of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in Arabic.
Labor Minister Mustafa Bayram
Bayram has served in the government at various levels since 1998.
Industry Minister George Bouchkian
The sole representative for the Lebanese-Armenian community, Bouchkian, is a businessman who was the CEO of several companies in Lebanon and the Middle East. He also holds Canadian citizenship.
Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan
Hajj Hassan was educated in France and worked as a journalist in Paris for France 24.
Youth & Sports Minister George Kallas
Kallas is a professor and media expert.
Administrative Development Minister Najla Riachi Assaker
Assaker, the sole woman in the 24-member cabinet, is a career diplomat who has served in several capacities at the Foreign Ministry. She has been posted to various posts in Geneva, the Vatican and Turkey.
Environment Minister Nasser Yassin
Yassin is a professor of Policy and Planning at the American University of Beirut. Yassin is considered one of the few independents of Mikati’s government.
Tourism Minister Walid Nassar
Nassar is a civil engineer and businessman who previously worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He was also the president of the Lebanese Basketball Federation from 2013 to 2016.
Minister of the Displaced Issam Sharafeddine Chehayeb
One of two Druze ministers in the government, Chehayeb, was a pharmacist before turning to the industrial sector.