Elections, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

Lebanon’s Cabinet Lineup

** See below for continuing updates **


A report on the new cabinet (h/t Richard Chambers at IFES).

At approximately 8PM Beirut time, President Michel Suleiman signed the following decrees, dissolving the current cabinet and appointing the new one.

Decree #2837: The cabinet led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is now resigned.

Decree #2838: Saad al-Hariri is hereby appointed Prime Minister.

Decree #2839: Pursuant to the previous decree, the following are the ministers in the new Lebanese cabinet:

Saad al-Hariri (M14, Future Movement): Prime Minister

Rayya al-Haffar (M14, Future Movement): Minister of Finance

Hassan Mneimneh (M14, Future Movement): Minister of Education

Mohammed Rahhal (M14, Future Movement): Minister of Environment

Michel Pharaon (M14, Future Movement): Minister of State

Tarek Mitri (M14, Future Movement): Minister of Information

Mohammed Safadi (M14, Independent): Minister of Economy

Jean Ogassapian (M14, Future Movement): Minister of State

Akram Chouhayib (PSP): Minister of the Displaced

Ghazi al-Aridi (PSP): Minister of Public Works

Wael Abou Faour (PSP): Minister of State

Ibrahim al-Najjar (M14, Lebanese Forces): Minister of Justice

Salim Wardeh (M14, Lebanese Forces): Minister of Culture

Boutros Harb (M14, Independent): Minister of Labor

Salim al-Sayegh (M14, Kata’eb): Minister of Social Affairs


Ziad Baroud (President’s share): Minister of Interior

Elias al-Murr (President’s share): Minister of Defense (and vice-PM)

Mona Afeish (President’s share): Minister of State

Adnan al-Sayyed Hussein (President’s share [and Hezbollah’s presumable swing vote]): Minister of State

Adnan al-Qassar (President’s share): Minister of State


Charbel Nahhas (Opposition, C&R): Minister of Telecommunications

Fadi Abboud (Opposition, C&R): Minister of Tourism

Ibrahim Dadayan (Opposition, C&R): Minister of Industry

Gebran Bassil (Opposition, C&R): Minister of Energy

Youssef Saade (Opposition, C&R): Minister of State

Ali al-Shami (Opposition, AMAL): Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mohammed Khalifeh (Opposition, AMAL): Minister of Health

Ali Hussein Abdallah (Opposition, AMAL): Minister of Youth & Sports

Hussein al-Haj Hassan (Opposition, Hezbollah): Minister of Agriculture

Mohammed Fneish (Opposition, Hezbollah): Minister of State for Administrative Development


In yet another twist to the five month-old cabinet saga, the Kata’eb Party — a key Christian ally in the March 14 alliance — has threatened to drop out of the coalition and resign from the cabinet, expressing displeasure at the ministry that it was dealt (Social Affairs). PM Saad al-Hariri has not yet issued a statement about this development, and it is unclear as to how it will impact the stability of the new government. Stay tuned…

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29 thoughts on “Lebanon’s Cabinet Lineup

  1. What’s with the four ministers of state?

    Posted by SafadiUSA | November 9, 2009, 3:22 pm
  2. I was wondering the same thing.

    What does Minister of State even mean?

    Minister of Making Up Numbers? Then again, aren’t they all simply making up numbers?

    Posted by Antoun Issa | November 9, 2009, 3:35 pm
  3. Ministers of State are “filler” ministers designed to make the sectarian math work out correctly.

    According to convention, the cabinet has to be divided equally between Christians and Muslims. Also, there should be the same number of Maronite, Sunni, and Shiite seats, with the remining seats going to the smaller sects.

    In order to make this work, you typically need a large number of cabinet seats, and there are only so many portfolios.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 3:53 pm
  4. Yep, I’m quite happy with that list. No Fatfat, no Hamedeh. Hariri did a good job. Oh my god, did i just utter those words.

    Posted by Sasa | November 9, 2009, 4:03 pm
  5. lol 🙂

    Sasa, you should be happy too with the choice of the Foreign Minister:

    Ali al-SHAMI

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 4:04 pm
  6. Talal Maqdessi isn’t in it….

    Posted by Jamal | November 9, 2009, 4:10 pm
  7. Jamal! Good to have you.

    I switched it; thanks for catching it. The FPMers had it wrong.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 4:11 pm
  8. The Kataeb are dropping out of March 14? 🙂

    What a way to begin Saad al-Hariri’s cabinet…


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 4:21 pm
  9. QN,

    We’ll wait and see for that one. Naharnet seems too quick with the draw lately…

    Posted by danny | November 9, 2009, 4:59 pm
  10. I don’t think Kataeb will drop out of M14.
    What are they gonna do otherwise?

    Their only other possibility is a team-up with Tayyar, at least in the Matn, if they leave M14 that is. And I don’t think that they are joining the opposition any time soon.

    So, they will stay in the cabinet for now. They will bitch and moan, but will eventually come up with a statement that will have all the essential Lebanese things to put in a statement. Examples include but are not limited to: Safeguarding the constitution, preserving M14 unity, continuing on the martyr’s path, staying the course, sacrificing once more and bla bla bla.

    And magically, someone’s bank account gets larger.

    Posted by babagannouj | November 9, 2009, 5:52 pm
  11. I want to be a minister of state too!

    What is their daily 9 to 5 like? … what do they take care of when they are not voting during government meetings?

    And what can we expect from Charbel Nahhas at the ministry of Telecommunication?

    Posted by Alex | November 9, 2009, 6:22 pm
  12. Kicking it up a notch—
    Qifa — I like the quote in the New York Times!!


    “When Syria and the Saudis ran Lebanon, the flexibility of the system was an asset, because it enabled them to shape political power according to their needs,” said Elias Muhanna, a political analyst and author of the influential blog Qifa Nabki. “But now that Lebanon is more in charge of its own destiny, that flexibility has become a liability.”

    Elias, you have outdone yourself. Clearly Robert worth has good taste and knows worth when he hears it.

    Cheers, Joshua

    Posted by joshua Landis | November 9, 2009, 6:25 pm
  13. An impertinent question – Is it really a wise idea to have a guy from a party of thugs and ethnic cleansers holding the Ministry of Justice seat?

    Posted by Roger | November 9, 2009, 6:37 pm
  14. Frankly, except for the PM, if you would have shown me the lists without names, I wouldn’t be able to tell who won the elections. So why bother with them at all?

    Posted by AIG | November 9, 2009, 6:38 pm
  15. Roger,

    Your opinion aside which is totally wrong…
    Please we have all heard age old tired attacks. Would you consider PSP, Amal, HA among others God sent parties with no blood on their hands?
    You seem to be hung up in the past which is so endemic in Lebanese…

    Posted by danny | November 9, 2009, 7:11 pm
  16. Shukran Joshua!

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 9:05 pm
  17. Oh the overwhelming anticipation, can’t wait to see them all line up for that official photo in tacky white suits.
    One can’t imagine that their suits will stay white for too long!!
    Pity the Nation

    Posted by V | November 9, 2009, 9:55 pm
  18. Mabrook ya shabeb wya sabaya on the new cabinet formation.

    Now the real work begins. Hopefully the new cabinet will work hard on dealing with the most pressing issues like the economy, energy and the environment.

    Somehow, I feel a bit optimistic. Nshalla kheir.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | November 9, 2009, 10:38 pm
  19. im surprised Hizbullah didn’t take a more prominent service ministry. like ministry of health, labor, education (though, there are obvious problems with edu) or displaced…

    Posted by Joe M. | November 10, 2009, 2:02 am
  20. The pros of the new Government:

    – Michel Suleiman has 5 ministries.
    – Mohammad Fneish is no longer Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    – Kataeb might be walking out of March 14 (Sami Gemayyel is a supremacist and an alliance of only LF/FM/Independents is better off – more seats for the LF).
    – Gebran Bassil got the Energy Ministry, and not that he would have been top choice, but I know he’d be willing to do anything to prove himself worthy of carrying the FPM lantern after Aoun – so serious work is expected.
    – A (relatively) large number of female ministers that are not related to male politicians.
    – A (relatively) large number of new faces.

    The cons:
    – Its formation re-enforced the consensus precedent that was established as a result of the May 7 events.
    – Ministries of Energy and Telecommunications stayed with the opposition, which makes partial privatization of the sectors highly unlikely.
    – Ziad Baroud and Tarek Mitri are back.
    – There’s no (clear) blocking third, and if Adnan Al-Sayyed Hussein does take the oppositions side over that of the president, Michel Suleiman would feel betrayed by the opposition and see things the way they are.
    -Fouad Siniora, one of the very few Lebanese to adhere to the constitution, verbatim, will be missed.

    Im waiting for the Ministerial Statement to expand on those. Lets pray its as close as possible to the Priority List that QN compiled.

    Posted by Purple Monkey | November 10, 2009, 2:03 am
  21. The PM has put togoether quite a brilliant line-up, very good reflection of voters’ choices and fair distribution of repsonsibilities between the various parties. I am happy also to see the President appoint Mona Ofeish.

    The Syrian regime should be worried – when the Lebanese move forward, it shows it can be done in a multi ethnic state like Syria.

    And Fatah should take note in the Land of Israel – I look forward to those people in Bethlehem and Nablus getting the right to vote for representation in the Knesset – then we will see a parliament in the Land of Israel that reflects the views of all of the subjects of the state, instead of the separate rules for separate sectarian groups as is now the case. Yallah, one person one vote in the Land of Israel in the next decade, then Syria is next after that!

    Posted by s al riachy | November 10, 2009, 2:09 am
  22. NB: I know 2 women out of 30 ministers is still disgraceful, but previously, the only women we did have in the Government were sisters/widows/wives/daughters of politicians – hence it is my belief that this Cabinet carries a substantial improvement.

    Posted by Purple Monkey | November 10, 2009, 2:11 am
  23. Hey QN,

    “Adnan al-Sayyed Hussein (President’s share [and Hezbollah’s presumable swing vote])”


    I’d say he is no more a swing vote to the minority as Minister Elias al-Murr is a swing vote to the majority.

    Unless you mean that should Amal & HA ministers resign later at some cross-road issue and Minister Hussein follows along (being the 6th Shia minister), then this could potentially bring the gov. down? If so, then no need to worry.

    If you check Dr. Hussein’s biographical sketch including his long track record of teaching at the Lebanese University and at the Lebanese Army’s Command and Staff College, you would see why President Suleiman chose him (and why both sides agreed). Some of his publications could be nice additions to your Lebanon Bibliography.

    Ras Beirut (18):

    Likewise, I feel optimistic. Indeed, inshallah kheir.

    Posted by PN | November 10, 2009, 3:43 am
  24. QN,

    I’d be interested to read your analysis on who you think “won” from this cabinet haggling/negotiation. Do you think by holding out so long and getting more or less what he wanted, Aoun succeeded in gaining stronger footing for himself in this government? In the end, can we say that Hariri couldn’t stand his ground and caved? If so, what does that mean for this government’s future policies and in particular for the ministerial statement? In terms of bargaining skills, it seems to me that Aoun proved his mettle, and also that Hariri’s bluff resignation didn’t really have much of an effect on reinforcing his position. Thoughts?

    Posted by Blackstar | November 10, 2009, 5:09 am
  25. PN:

    Yes, I meant in the event of a government resignation. That was the subtext of the 15-10-5 deal.


    I’m preparing a post as we speak, on the subject. Stay tuned!


    Fneish was not Foreign Minister. Fawzi Salloukh was. Fneish was Labor, I believe.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 10, 2009, 9:25 am
  26. Uhhh..wow that whole post was off. Excuse me. I had just gotten a beautiful herb from the Bekaa; as you can tell, it does wonders! Hahaha

    But yeah, Fawzi Salloukh as foreign minister, and the 3rd and 4th points in my cons were intended for pros.

    Posted by Purple Monkey | November 11, 2009, 1:55 am
  27. Lebanon, Gem of The Midddle East

    Lebanon will continue to be the shining star in the region, economically and politically. A stronger united and more cohesive Lebanon will soon emerge that will resist all factions being imposed in the region by sources outside of the immediate “United for Lebanon” movement. A need for intelligence gathering and containment will continue to emerge in order to plan for the greater good of Lebanon under one leadership regardless of religious beliefs.

    Posted by Saad Al-Haffar | November 15, 2009, 5:47 am


  1. Pingback: Lebanon’s Cabinet « 24,901 Miles - November 10, 2009

  2. Pingback: A Return to 2006? « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog - September 29, 2010

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