Lebanon's former premier, Saad Hariri, has been asked by the president to form the next government. Hariri, who resigned almost a year ago amid nationwide protests, will face a host of economic and social challenges.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Thursday asked former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to form the country's next government amid a multitude of political and economic crises.
The move comes after Hariri secured enough support in parliamentary talks.
Hariri's return to office may be seen as a setback by protesters who have been demonstrating for reform, as he is seen by many as belonging to the established political class blamed for the difficulties in the country. He resigned almost exactly a year ago amid nationwide protests against government corruption and mismanagement, along with a faltering economy.
His nomination on Thursday comes after weeks of political wrangling. The last government was forced out after a deadly blast at Beirut's port on August 4 that was seen by many as further evidence of the corruption and incompetence of Lebanese leaders.
He received support from his own Future lawmakers, the Shiite Amal group, the largest Sunni bloc, a small Christian party and independents.
Lebanon's political landscape is complicated by pronounced sectarian divisions within the country. Its government is meant to give political representation to all the country's 18 religious groups.
According to the constitution, the president must always be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliamentary speaker a Shiite Muslim, while other leading positions are also divided among the majority sects.
Hariri is thus likely to have a rocky path before him as he tries to navigate the country's power-sharing politics to agree a Cabinet, even before getting down to tackling the country's mounting problems.
tj/msh (Reuters, AP)