Lebanese cabinet wins confidence vote

August 12th, 2008 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Beirut, Aug 12 (Xinhua) The Lebanese cabinet Tuesday won a parliamentary vote of confidence following four days of heated debate over radical Shia movement Hezbollah’s demand to have weapons and its rights to resist Israel, the LBC TV reported. “The national unity government of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora got 100 votes out of 107 present, five voted against and two abstained,” parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced at the end of the session.

The lawmakers from rival factions have locked horns for days over the arsenal belonging to Hezbollah, which insists on the right to resist Israel.

The Lebanese parliament convened after almost two years of non-functioning, and approved the cabinet policy statement allowing it to rule officially for nine months and end its task with a general election in 2009.

The confidence vote is part of the Arab League (AL)-sponsored Doha accord signed May 21, which pulled the country back from the brink of a fresh civil war.

After series of talks in Qatar, the rival Lebanese leaders agreed on steps to end the political deadlock that had led to the country’s worst violence since the 1975-90 civil war.

Under the deal, the opposition - led by the Hezbollah political and militant group - has the power of veto in the new cabinet of national unity.

It also paved the way for parliament to elect a new president after the post remained vacant for over six months. Former army chief General Michel Suleiman was elected by the parliament as the country’s 11 th president.

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