Lebanon has its first full government in more than a year, the presidency announced Friday.
 
The country last had a government on August 4, 2020, after a devastating explosion at the Beirut port forced out then Prime Minister Hasan Diab.
 
Since then, rival groups have been unable to agree on a new government, despite worsening economic conditions.
 
The new government will be headed by billionaire businessman Najib MIkati.
 
On Friday, Mikati vowed to reverse the economic problems, and he pleaded with rival groups to work together.
 
“The situation is difficult but not impossible to deal with if we cooperate,” Mikati told reporters at the presidential palace, where the new government was announced.
 
The new 24-member cabinet includes Firas Abiad, director general of the public hospital who led the country’s efforts against COVID-19, Youssef Khalil, a central bank official who will serve as finance minister, and Bassam Mawlawi, a judge who will be interior minister.
 
The new government will be faced with crushing economic woes. Since October of 2019, the currency has lost 90% of its value against the dollar. That has sparked hyperinflation and thrown half the country into poverty.
 
Mikati said he will seek a rescue package from the International Monetary Fund.
 
“I hope we can fulfill people’s aspirations and at least stop the collapse,” Mikati said Friday.  
 
It remains unclear what compromise helped lead to the government’s formation.
 Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters

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