|Lebanon's new Cabinet: Members list, observations
Formed Thursday, April 17, 2003
Rafic Hariri: Prime Minister (Sunnite, MP)
Issam Fares: Deputy Prime Minister (Greek Orthodox, MP)
Bahij Tabbara: Minister of Justice (Sunnite)
Marwan Hamadi: Minister of Economy and Trade (Druze, MP)
Assad Hardan: Minister of Labor (Greek Orthodox, MP)
Faris Boeize: Minister of Environment (Maronite, MP)
Talal Arsalan: Minister of State (Druze, MP)
Suleiman Franjieh: Minister of Public Health (Maronite, MP)
Asaad Diab: Minister of Social Affairs (Shiite)
Michel Samaha: Minister of Information (Catholic)
Fouad Siniora: Minister of Finance (Sunnite)
Abdul Rahim Morad: Minister of State (Sunnite, MP)
Jean Obeid: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants (Maronite, MP)
Ayyoub Homayid: Minister of Hydroelectric Resources (Shiite, MP)
Michel Mousa: Minister of State (Catholic, MP)
Karam Karam: Minister of State (Greek Orthodox)
Najib Mikati: Minister of Public Works and Transport (Sunnite, MP)
Sebouh Hovnanian: Minister of Youth and Sports (Armenian, MP)
Khalil Hrawi: Minister of State (Maronite, MP)
Ghazi Aridi: Minister of Culture (Druze, MP)
Mahmoud Hammoud: Minister of National Defense (Shiite)
Samir Jisr: Minister of Education and Higher Studies (Sunnite)
Elias Al-Murr: Minister of Interior and Municipalities (Greek Orthodox, MP)
Jean-Louis Qordahi: Minister of Telecommunications ((Maronite)
Elie Skaff: Minister of Industry (Catholic, MP)
Assim Kanso: Minister of state (Shiite, MP)
Ali Hassan Khalil: Minister of Agriculture (Shiite, MP)
Abdallah Farhat: Minister of the Displaced (Maronite, MP)
Karim Pakradoni: Minister of Administrative Development (Armenian)
Ali Hussein Abdallah: Minister of Tourism (Shiite).
1- Of the newcomers to the latest Cabinet, Asaad Hardan
(labor) and Michel Samaha (information) are returning to portfolios that they held under
earlier Hariri governments. Jean Obeid (foreign affairs), Ayoub Humayed (energy and water
resources) and Fares Boueiz (environment) had also served as ministers in Hariri
governments, with responsibility for education, social affairs and foreign affairs,
2- The new Cabinet, the fifth to be headed by Hariri,
included 30 ministers of which 19 were in the outgoing Cabinet, and 11 were new comers.
The change of names mainly affected the Shiite ministers, four of whom were discarded at
the behest of Speaker Nabih Berri. Moreover, according to informed sources, the Cabinet
reshuffle was to Berris advantage more than the other two top leaders. Ministers
from other sects changed only slightly.
3- The major change at the top of the Cabinet was Jean
Obeid, a pro-Syrian Christian from northern Lebanon, who was nominated foreign minister.
Obeid, a newcomer to the Cabinet, replaces Mahmoud Hammoud, who was named defense
minister-designate. The change is not expected to affect Lebanons foreign policy,
which is staunchly pro-Syrian and anti-Israel.
4- Of the seven new Christian ministers, four are close to
Damascus and had served in previous governments. The three others were recently received
by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom they publicly praised. On the other hand, three
"independent" Christians who had been on the cabinet lost their jobs.
5- A full two-thirds of the new ministers are members of the pro-Syrian parliamentary
blocs headed by Hariri, parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri and the chief of the Druze
community, Walid Jumblatt. The others are directly aligned with Damascus without belonging
to any bloc. It includes in its majority supporters or sympathizers of Syria, the main
power broker in Lebanon. It gathers supporters of Hariri and President Emile Lahoud, as
well as of the Shiite Amal movement, the Druze Progressive Socialist Party, the Baath
Party, the National Syrian Socialist Party and the Christian Phalange Party.
6- Hariri, who is heading up his fifth government since 1992, has seen the number of his
direct supporters chopped in half.
7- Observers see the changes as strengthening the influence
of Damascus, and some consider it the most pro-Syrian cabinet since 1989.
8- Hariri's new Cabinet failed to include representatives
of the Christian opposition, which criticizes Syria's
military presence in Lebanon, and the militant Hezbollah group, which expressed readiness
to join the new
9- Analysts believed the move was influenced by
neighbouring Syria, and its desire to strengthen its position in the region in the face of
growing tension with the US.
10- No substantial policy shifts in political or economic
affairs are anticipated as a result of the changes, which have to be endorsed by
parliament before they take effect.
11- Nine ministers retained their portfolios. They are
Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares; State Minister Talal
Irslan; Minister of Health Suleiman Franjiyeh; Minister of Social Affairs Asaad Diab;
Minister of Finance
Fouad Seniora; Minister of Transportation Najib Mikati; Minister of Sports and Youth
Minister of Interior Elias Murr, and Minister of Telecommunications Jean-Louis Kordahi.
12- The newcomers included: Minister of Labor Asaad
Hardan, Minister of the Environment Fares Boueiz, Minister of Information Michel
Samaha, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Obeid, Minister of Electricity Ayyoub Humayed,
Minister of Industry Elias Skaf, Minister of State Assam Kansou, Minister of
Agriculture Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of the Displaced Abdallah Farhat, Minister of
Administrative Develoment Affairs Karim Pakradouni, Minister of Tourism Ali Hussein
13- Nine ministers from the former Cabinet got new
portfolios. They include Marwan Hamade, who was named
Minister of economy; Bahij Tabbara, Minister of justice; Ghazi Aridi, Minister of culture;
Mahmoud Hammoud, Minister of defense and Samir Jisr, Education minister.
Shares per sect
Jean Louis Qordahi
Dr. Ali Hussein Abdallah
Ali Hussein Khalil
Abdul Rahim Murad