Fouad Siniora

Fouad Siniora

Infobox Prime Minister
name = Fouad Siniora
فؤاد السنيورة

imagesize = 150px
order = Prime Minister of Lebanon
president = Émile Lahoud
Michel Sleiman
deputy = Issam Abu Jamra
term_start = 19 July 2005
term_end =
predecessor = Najib Mikati
successor =
order2 = President of Lebanon
Acting [ [ - Lebanon] ]
term_start2 = 23 November 2007
term_end2 = 25 May 2008
predecessor2 = Émile Lahoud
successor2 = Michel Sleiman
birth_date = bda|1943|04|14|df=y
birth_place = Sidon, Lebanon
spouse = Huda Siniora
religion = Islam (Sunni)
party = Movement of the Future

Fouad Siniora "(alternative spellings: Fouad Sanyoura, Fuad Siniora, Fouad Saniora, Fouad Seniora)" ( _ar. فؤاد السنيورة, Fu'ād As-Sanyūrah) is the Prime Minister of Lebanon, a position he held from 19 July, 2005 to May 25, 2008, the date of the election of the new President of Lebanon; he was renominated to the post on 28 May 2008 and held the post as Acting Prime Minister between those dates.

Early life

Siniora was born into a Sunni Muslim family in Sidon on 14 April 1943. He went on to earn a degree in business administration from the American University of Beirut. After working for Citibank and teaching at his alma mater in Beirut in the 1970s, Siniora worked for the Central Bank's audit committee before being employed by Prime Minister Hariri in 1982 in his rapidly growing business empire. Siniora was Minister of Finance for most of the post-war period in Lebanon in Hariri's successive cabinets.

Member of National Assembly

Fouad Siniora has strong ties with international finance. Strongly pro-business, he is considered a partisan of free trade. He was a close adviser to late Rafik Hariri and he is very close to his son Saad Hariri. He served as finance minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2004. Siniora was the main designer of the Paris II conference in November 2002 which allowed Lebanon to get US$2.6 billion. He was accused of corruption and mismanagement after Hariri's ousting in 1998, in what was mainly viewed as a conflict between Hariri and President Émile Lahoud. Siniora was cleared of all charges in 2003 by the parliament. In 2002, he abolished most of Lebanon's duty taxes and introduced a Value Added Tax in a country where the minimum wage is equivalent to US$200 and where social welfare is almost non-existent.

Prime Minister

After the victory of the anti-Syrian opposition in parliamentary elections held in May and June 2005, Fouad Siniora was asked by President Lahoud on 30 June to form a government. He resigned from the chairmanship of Group Méditerranée (a banking holding controlled by the Hariri family). After laborious negotiations with the President and the different political forces, Siniora formed a government on July 19 2005. It is the first government formed after the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and the first government to include members of Hezbollah. With regards to Hezbollah, the Siniora cabinet's official stance is that "The government considers the resistance a natural and honest expression of the Lebanese people’s national rights to liberate their land and defend their honour against Israeli aggression and threats". This stance changed during the Israely July 2006 war on Lebanon, when Siniora ordered the army to block any weapon load from reaching Hezbollah. On the other hand, the Siniora cabinet has also been working alongside the March 14 Alliance towards a peaceful disarmament of the Hezbollah military wing through an internal political process. Apart from General Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement , Hezbollah and the Amal movement, both major Shi'a parties, left the government. As a result there are no Shi'a minsters left in the Cabinet and fewer mainstream parties are represented.

In April, 2006, Siniora and leading officials paid a high profile visit to Washington, DC, and met with President George W. Bush and a number of cabinet members of the Bush Administration. His public pronouncements have been relatively mute with regard to Syria's alleged involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

On 27 July 2006, Siniora presented the 7-point Siniora Plan at a 15-nation conference in Rome as a solution to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. He famously lost control and sobbed for a few seconds during his address to Arab League diplomats in Beirut during the July 2006 war as he described the fate of civilians in Southern Lebanon --then rapidly regained his composure after being applauded. [ [ Siniora's Tears] , Asharq Alawsat Newspaper.]

On 12 August, he cautiously welcomed a new UN agreement, as voted for by the UN security council.

Opposition to the Siniora Government

On November 13 2006, ministers backed by Hezbollah, President Lahoud, and Amal resigned from Siniora's cabinet. Although the resigned ministers were only 6, nearly 45% of the Lebanese MPs belong to the opposition. Unlike Western democracies, no party in Lebanon has ever had a monopoly on power and decision-making.The Lebanese opposition claims that this resignation means that the Siniora Government is not a legitimate one because it does not represent all religious groups in Lebanon, namely the Shiite Lebanese. Siniora says that, according to the constitution, the government is legal as long as it has two thirds of the ministers, and so the Siniora government is still a totally legal cabinet. Opposition demands an increase in opposition representation in the cabinet, sufficient to hold veto power over decision making, as their requirement for returning. The government and the West see this as a Syrian-orchestrated move to block the establishment of the Hariri tribunal.

On December 1, 2006, the opposition, primarily the pro-Syrian Shiite parties of Amal and Hezbollah, and the mainly Christian Free Patriotic Movement of Michael Aoun, launched a campaign of street demonstrations with the goal of getting veto power and creating a national unity government. After the Doha Agreement, the street demonstrations came to an end after two years. Recent negotiations between Saudi Arabia which supports Siniora, and Iran which supports the opposition, show promise of producing a power sharing compromise for the country, but Siniora, with strong support by the Arab countries, the United States, France, and the United Nations, in addition to the Lebanese Parliamental Majority, remains opposed to giving the opposition a veto-wielding block in the cabinet.

See also

* Fouad Siniora's 2005-2008 cabinet
* Position of Lebanon in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
* Siniora Plan


External links

* [ BBC profile of Fouad Siniora]
* [ BBC Siniora reappointed as PM]
* [ Article by Siniora in Washington Post]

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