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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Lebanon's Hariri wins majority support to be PM, local media reports

Mr Hariri’s designation comes as no surprise

Lebanon's Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil takes photos of re-elected Parliament speaker Nabih Berri with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri at the parliament in Beirut on May 23, 2018. Reuters
Lebanon's Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil takes photos of re-elected Parliament speaker Nabih Berri with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri at the parliament in Beirut on May 23, 2018. Reuters

Lebanon’s Saad Hariri is set to be designated prime minister for a third time after more than half of the parliamentarians nominated the politician during consultations with President Michel Aoun, local media said.

The Lebanese president must designate the candidate with the most support among the 128 members of parliament.

Mr Hariri’s designation comes as no surprise, as he was widely expected to be chosen for the role that is reserved for a Sunni in Lebanon’s sectarian system.

Mr Aoun began consultations on Thursday by meeting with Mr Hariri. This comes a day after parliament elected Nabih Berri — a Shiite — as its speaker. He has been holding the post since 1992.

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All Lebanese leaders have called for the rapid formation of a new government that will aim to revitalise a stagnant economy situation and address unsustainable public debt levels.

But like the outgoing cabinet, the new government will have to balance out the interests of all the main competing Lebanese parties and may take time.

One major stumbling block may be the share of ministries given to Hezbollah and its allies. Although the party only took one additional seat overall in May's election, the number of allied and independent candidates close to the group increased from around 5 to around 10 MPs.