04/12/2005, 00.00
LEBANON
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Karami fails to form cabinet

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon's Premier-designate Omar Karami has failed to form a new government. An impasse has emerged after a five-hour meeting at Baabda Presidential palace that included Karami, President Émile Lahoud and National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri.

Karami immediately left Beirut for the north to meet former Interior Minister Souleiman Frangiyeh.

Mr Frangiyeh has repeatedly refused to join the new government in order to prepare for the upcoming May elections in which he intends to run as the leader of a new party.

Sources say that a new 30-member cabinet was ready, including 18 ministers from the outgoing government. However, should it not be sworn it soon an electoral law might not be in place for the schedules May 31 elections.

Lebanon has had a caretaker cabinet since February 28, when the government resigned under pressure from anti-Syrian street protests. (YH)

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