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Monday, November 13, 2006 

Sixth Lebanese minister resigns - government close to collapse

A sixth minister has resigned, Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf.

"I don't see myself belonging to any constitutional authority in which an entire sect is absent," he said.

If eight leave, the government automatically collapses. Only two more are needed now.

All five Shia members resigned on Saturday. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora can choose to operate with a half-government, or he can choose to appoint puppet Shia to fill the five Shia seats.

Hizbollah is demanding a greater role in government for itself and its allies Amal and Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement.

Hizbollah feels it needs a greater role since it single-handedly defended Lebanon during Israel's war in the summer. Siniora ordered the Lebanese national army not to fire on the Israeli invaders.

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