Syria’s newly-formed cabinet has been sworn in to office. The ceremony took place in the presence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The new government is headed by Riad Farid Hijab, a former agriculture minister and member of the ruling Baath Party.
The president had ordered a major cabinet shake-up last week, bringing in 20 new ministers. Three major portfolios remain unchanged: namely, the Defense, Foreign Affairs and the Interior. The new cabinet also includes two opposition figures.
Qadri Jamil, head of the People’s Will Party, was named Vice Prime minister, and minister of Domestic Trade. And Ali Haidar, another member of the People’s Will Party, is now Minister of National Reconciliation. The cabinet reshuffle came after the introduction of a new contitution and the election of a new parliament, moves aimed at easing the unrest that continues to grip the country.