DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad reappointed premier Wael al-Halqi to form a new government Sunday following presidential elections in which he won a new seven-year term in office, the country's state-run news agency said.
SANA said Assad issued a decree tasking al-Halqi to form the new Cabinet. Al-Halqi automatically became a caretaker premier following the June presidential election, which was confined to government-controlled areas and dismissed by the opposition and its Western allies as a sham.
It is not clear how much time al-Halqi has to form the Cabinet, which is not expected to change the course of Syria's 3-year-old civil war. Opposition activists say the war has killed more than 170,000 people.
Assad appointed al-Halqi, 50, two years ago, elevating him from the post of health minister after former premier, Riad Hijab, defected. Halqi is a member of Assad's ruling Baath party and hails from the southern city of Daraa, birthplace of the Syrian uprising.
He narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Damascus last year in a bombing that killed several other people.
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