Following are some of the key developments in Lebanon since he first took office in 1992, two years after the end of the devastating 15-year civil war.
31 October: Al-Hariri takes office as prime minister.
29 December: Lebanese army takes control of southern Beirut, a stronghold of the resistance group Hizb Allah, for the first time in nine years.
20 May: Al-Hariri reinforces his control of Lebanon's finances by naming close ally Riad Salama as head of the Central Bank of Lebanon.
9 August: About 600 Lebanese troops deploy in the UN interim force-controlled zone in southern Lebanon, north of the Israeli-occupied zone, about 10 days after a massive Israeli military offensive into the country.
2 November: Launch of Beirut city centre reconstruction plan, led by the Solidere construction company, of which al-Hariri is a main shareholder.
23 March: Cabinet dissolves Samir Giagia's Christian Lebanese Forces party.
21 April: Giagia and 150 followers arrested over a church bombing north of Beirut that killed 10 worshippers in February.
With President Emile Lahud (R)
8-14 May: Al-Hariri suspends government activity because of President Ilias Harawi's resistance to a cabinet reshuffle. Al-Hariri resumes activity following talks with Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad in Damascus.
1 December: Al-Hariri says he will resign, apparently blaming a lack of cohesion in his cabinet. A week later he goes back to work after assurances from Damascus of greater cooperation from Shia leaders.
19 May: Al-Hariri resigns, saying he needs a government of solidarity. He forms a government of "the faithful" a week later.
19 October: Parliament amends the constitution to extend Harawi's mandate by three years.
26 April: Ceasefire agreement ends Israel's punitive Grapes of Wrath operation against resistance fighters in southern Lebanon, which left 175 people dead, mostly civilians.
7 November: Al-Hariri forms his third government.
With Syria's Bashar al-Asad (L)
16 December: Al-Hariri receives promises of $3.2 million in aid over three years at a donors' conference in Washington.
29 May: Government admits to phone taps "for reasons of national security".
15 October: General Emile Lahud is elected president by parliament and succeeds Harawi on 24 November.
30 November: Al-Hariri refuses to form a new government following Lahud's election.
4 December: Veteran Sunni leader and economist Salim al-Hoss takes office as prime minister.
24 May: Israeli troops pull out of southern Lebanon, ending 22 years of occupation.
Lebanese women react to news
of al-Hariri's death on Monday
26 October: Al-Hariri becomes prime minister for the fourth time.
15 April: Israel carries out an air strike on a Syrian military radar station in Lebanon.
14-18 June: Syria withdraws troops from Beirut and redeploys them eastward to the Bekaa Valley.
10 January: Lebanon and the European Union sign an association agreement.
1 February: The government introduces a new 10% value added tax (VAT).
3 March: Syria's Al-Asad visits Lebanon for the first time as president, in the first such trip to Lebanon by a Syrian head of state in more than 25 years.
27-28 March: Beirut hosts the 14th Arab League summit that adopts a comprehensive initiative offering peace with Israel in return for a pullout from occupied Arab territories.
A bomb near Beirut's seafront
caused al-Hariri's death
16 April: Al-Hariri resigns. A day later, he forms what is considered the most pro-Syrian government since the end of the civil war.
2 September: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1559 calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon and respect for its sovereignty - implicitly censuring Damascus.
3 September: Lebanese parliament bows to Syrian pressure and approves a controversial constitutional amendment giving Emile Lahud another three years in office.
6 September: Four ministers quit the cabinet in protest at the constitutional amendment.
20 October: Al-Hariri resigns as prime minister.
26 October: Prime minister designate Umar Karami forms a new 30-member cabinet, with keys posts going to pro-Syrian figures and with women entering government for the first time in Lebanon's history.
14 February: Rafiq al-Hariri is killed in a massive blast in a seafront area of central Beirut.