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Despite international disapproval, Lebanon forms government with Hezbollah | Ynet News |

Almost 9 months after the elections, Saad al-Hariri forms third government including 3 Hezbollah ministers despite US and European pressure, threats to withhold aid.

Rival political groups have been locked in disagreement over the make-up of a new government since May, after the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years.

The breakthrough comes after rival factions worked out a compromise allowing representation of Sunni lawmakers backed by the powerful Shiite group Hezbollah.

The government also sees an increase in the number of ministries affiliated with the powerful Shiite Hezbollah group, which is under tightening sanctions from the United States that labels the group a terrorist organization. The group made significant gains in last year's Parliament elections while Hariri's block lost a third of its seats.

The group now holds two ministries and a ministry of state, including for the first time the Ministry of Health, which has one of the country's largest budgets. The Finance Ministry remains in the hands of a Hezbollah ally, Ali Hassan Khalil.

For the first time, the Lebanese government includes four women ministers, doubling their representation, including the powerful Ministry of Interior in charge of internal security. Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of the Lebanese President, remains foreign minister.

Hariri called the new government "a reflection of Lebanon's image in 2019."

In Lebanon: New Government, Old Politics | CFR - Nov. 2009 |

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