Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been tasked with forming his fourth government, winning a slim majority of votes in parliament just under a year after his resignation amid mass-protests last year.
Hariri’s dramatic return was enabled by the votes of 65 MPs from across the country’s political spectrum, including his own Future Movement, the Shia Amal Movement, the Druze Progressive Socialist Party and the Syrian Socialist Nationalist party, ostensibly secular but closely allied to Hezbollah, a Shia party with its own military wing.
Abstentions, numbering 53, also came from different political groups, including the Lebanese Forces, former Hariri allies who have been styling themselves as opposition, and their opponents the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), former coalition partners with Hariri before ties soured.
The Iran-back Hezbollah party also did not vote for Hariri, though they have been among the most enthusiastic proponents of his return since his resignation on October 29 last year.
Hariri always remained the strongest Sunni Muslim candidate to take the post, which must be held by a Sunni under a 77-year-old pact that gave the presidency to Maronite Christians and the position of Speaker of the House to a Shia Muslim.