Gebran Bassil

Position: Energy & Water Minister

Biography: Gebran Bassil is a close aide to Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun and having Bassil at the head of the Energy & Water Ministry represents another success for the March 8 movement in its battle for political influence.

A Maronite, Bassil was instrumental in negotiating the memorandum of understanding that the FPM signed with Hezbollah in February 2006, which included a roadmap for the disarmament of Hezbollah, and he will need to display similar political skills as he heads up the ministry.

A key challenge facing the new government will be the massive debts owed by state utility Electricite du Liban (EdL), largely as a result of non-payment by residential consumers.

In 2009, the Finance Ministry was forced to bail out EdL with a $1.5bn payout. Sorting out the debt at EdL is a top priority for Bassil, but other incumbents have failed to improve matters in the past.

Contact: (+961) 1 56510