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May 29, 2008
Lebanese democrats thumb their noses at Hezb'allah
The man Hezb'allah has called a "tool of America" and a "dictator" has been re-appointed Prime Minister by the majority March 14th party in Lebanon:The government majority is making it absolutely clear that they believe in the rule of law and democracy by re-appointing the man who has led them since their electoral victory 3 years ago. They are telling Hezb'allah that you might have veto power in the new cabinet but we were elected by the people and will not give in to threats or intimidation to alter the results of that election.
Based on his consultations with members of parliament ... the president has asked Fuad Siniora to form a new government," the presidency said.
The opposition made it clear it was not satisfied with the choice of Siniora, saying he did not reflect the spirit of national unity called for in last week's Arab-brokered accord reached in Doha.
"His nomination is a recipe for conflict rather than reconciliation," Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun warned.
"It seems the ruling bloc, rather than battling for a new Lebanon, is seeking to unleash a new conflict."
He added, however, that his camp would not stand in the way of forming a new government.
A Sunni Muslim and close ally of slain former premier Rafiq Hariri, Siniora has been prime minister since 2005 and headed a caretaker government since Sleiman's election by parliament on Sunday.
That earlier, US-backed administration was crippled by a long-running opposition protest campaign
Siniora will be working to form a coalition government in which the Hezbollah-led opposition will have veto power over key decisions.But he said he would seek to bridge the gaps among all the rival parties as he embarks on a new term and seeks to form a government of national unity.
Lots of sour faces around Hezb'allah headquarters today. But they appear willing to bide their time until next spring when parliamentary elections will be held under a new electoral law that gives them a shot at forming a majority coalition.