Lebanon is now just a hop, skip and a jump away from having its first government in nearly 11 months. Incoming Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced a 24-member cabinet lineup on 15 February after a protracted period of bickering among Lebanon’s disparate factions. But the fledgling government faces two key obstacles before it is able to execute constitutional authority.

First, the cabinet must agree to a “ministerial statement”. This has posed problems in the past as the March 8 block, which includes Shi’a party-cum-militia Hizbollah, insists that the phrase “the people, the army, the resistance” be included in the statement – as in previous ministerial statements – as a sort of raison d’être for the state. But the March 14 coalition, which includes groups like the mostly-Sunni Future Movement and the Maronite Catholic Kata’ib, hopes to remove this phraseology. (CONTINUED - 1176 WORDS)