Lebanese Minister of State for Administrative Reform Jean Ogasapian, left, talks on the phone in Beirut on May 10, 2008. (Joseph Barrak/AFP/Getty Images)

Lebanon finally has a new government, a development which could help end more than two years of political deadlock in the country. Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said its priority will be to "preserve stability," the BBC reports.

The new government will feature Lebanon's first "minister of state for women's affairs," a welcome development in a country where women have little representation in politics.

But there's a catch: Lebanon's first minister for women is a man.

That man's name is Jean Ogasapian. He's a 62-year-old representative of the center-right Future Movement party, where his official biography notes that he had a lengthy career in the Lebanese army until he quit to go into politics in 2000. He has considerable political experience: In 2005, he was appointed as administrative reforms minister in the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and he was a state minister in Hariri's' 2009 government.

But Ogasapian's position as the boss of Lebanon's newly created Women's Affairs Ministry prompted incredulous responses on Twitter.


Notably, there are only four women serving in Lebanon's 128-person parliament — meaning just 4 percent of elected seats go to women, a low figure even in the Middle East. Only one member of the new cabinet is a woman: Inaya Ezzeddine, state minister for administrative development affairs.

Hariri is expected to implement a new electoral law before upcoming parliamentary elections in June that may include a "quota for women."

It's hoped that the new government will bring stability to Lebanon, where the limited government resources have been stretched by the war in neighboring Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis. The new government includes most of the political spectrum, including the Islamist militant Hezbollah, though the Christian Phalangist party did not accept the position it was offered.

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