April 6, 2013 - 15:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Lebanon's president formally asked Sunni Muslim politician Tammam Salam to form a new government on Saturday, April 6 after Salam won overwhelming support from parliamentarians to be the new prime minister, Reuters reported.
Salam was appointed two weeks after the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose two years in office were dominated by efforts to contain sectarian tensions, violence and economic fallout from the conflict in neighboring Syria.
His immediate task, if he is able to form a cabinet accepted by Lebanon's rival political forces, will be to prepare for a parliamentary election which is due in June but faces likely delay. No agreement has been reached yet on an electoral system under which the vote will take place.
Salam, born in 1945 into a prominent Sunni political dynasty, served as culture minister between 2008 and 2009. He is close to the Saudi- and Western-backed March 14 coalition but was seen as a consensus candidate and also won the backing of the March 8 bloc, which includes the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah group.
But a source in the March 8 group said that despite the broad support for Salam's nomination, he might face a lengthy struggle to form a government. His predecessor, Mikati, took five months assemble his ministerial team.