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Assad asks electricity minister to form new government

22 June 2016 18:37

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has asked the country’s electricity minister to form a new government.

Imad Khamis was tasked with forming the new cabinet on Wednesday, Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported.

Sources had earlier told the Russian English-language news channel RT that the new cabinet will include 12 new ministers, such as the justice minister, health minister and the minister of electricity.

According to the report, the key portfolios will remain intact as the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, defense and finance will not be changed.

Khamis is to submit his proposal for new ministerial appointments in the coming days, AFP reported.

He is a 54-year-old engineer, who is to replace Wael al-Halqi who had held the post since August 2012.

 

Khamis had served as Syria’s minister of electricity since 2011 and is an electrical engineer. He has been under sanctions by the European Union since March 2012.

The changes come more than two months after parliamentary elections were held in the country on April 13, in which a high voter turnout was recorded.

A number of opposition parties were running in the race, but armed opposition groups boycotted the vote and called it illegitimate. Parliament members are elected for a four-year term in Syria.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis it blames on some foreign states for more than five years.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since March 2011. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in the Middle Eastern state, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

Backed by the Russian air cover, Syrian forces have managed to liberate many militant-held areas over the past few months.

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