Hezbollah and its allies have gained a greater representation in Lebanon’s new cabinet, following appointments made by the Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Hezbollah and its associates now have 16 posts in the cabinet (out of 30 total), versus ten in the prior administration.
The new cabinet was named five months after Hezbollah helped to bring down the former government of Saad al-Hariri and his coalition. That change occurred after a dispute erupted over an UN-supported tribunal that investigated the murder of Saad’s father, Rafiq al-Hariri.
Hezbollah is widely believed to have been behind the killing of the elder Hariri, though they deny the charge.
Hezbollah members are likely to be indicted in the case.
Let us go to work immediately according to the principles and basis that we have affirmed our commitment to several times, namely defending Lebanon's sovereignty and its independence and liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy, Mikati said.
However, there have already been some expressions of discontent with the formation of the new cabinet.
Talal Arslan, a Druze politician who was named minister of state resigned within hours of the announcement.
I cannot participate in a government in which Najib Mikati says the Druze do not have the right to demand a key ministry, Arslan said during a televised news conference.
Arslan warned he will not support a vote of confidence in the government; however Hezbollah and its allies are believed to have enough votes for the cabinet to be approved.
Also, Hariri himself, who is supported by the West and by Saudi Arabia, declined an invitation to the new government.
Lebanese media reported that Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad (an ally of Hezbollah) called Mikati to congratulate him on the new government.
This government is committed to maintaining strong, brotherly ties which bind Lebanon to all Arab countries without exception, Mikati said.
A correspondent for Al Jazeera in Beirut wrote: This country, without a government, was barely functioning. Mikati told the Lebanese people that they shouldn't judge him by the names of the new cabinet, but rather by their future actions.
She added: This country is a close neighbor of Syria where there are troubles, and many people fear that the crisis could spill over - some people are hoping that forming a new government will help to face some challenges.