Lebanon’s Saad Hariri designated as next prime minister

Hariri’s party lost a sizeable chunk of its power in May 6 vote, but remains the biggest Sunni-led party with 20 seats.

Hariri leb
Hariri has been asked to form a government for his third term as prime minister [File: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

Lebanese President Michel Aoun asked Saad Hariri to form a new government, designating him the country’s next prime minister.

Hariri was put forward for the job by 111 of 128 members of Lebanon‘s parliament in consultations with Aoun held on Thursday.

It will be the third term for Hariri, who has held the position since December 2016 and was also prime minister between 2009 and 2011.

“The President Michel Aoun honoured me by designating me to form a new government according to the parliamentarian consultations that were held today. I thank the president and the members of parliament for their nomination today,” said Hariri.

In parliamentary elections on May 6, Hariri’s Future Movement lost more than one-third of its power but remains the biggest Sunni-led party with 20 seats.

Hezbollah and its allies made the most significant gains by winning 70 seats.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, the speaker a Shia Muslim, and the president a Maronite Christian.

In a statement, Hariri said he would form a new government “as soon as possible for the benefit of Lebanon and the Lebanese”. 

Speaking after receiving his designation, he said the new national unity government he is tasked to form must commit to the state’s policy of staying out of regional conflicts.

Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally, was re-elected as assembly speaker for a six term on Wednesday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies