- Title: Lebanon's Hariri tasked with forming new government
- Date: 3rd November 2016
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (FILE 2005) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HARIRI, VISITING HIS FATHER'S, RAFIC AL-HARIRI (FORMER PM) GRAVE FOLLOWING HIS ASSASSINATION
- Embargoed: 18th November 2016 14:02
- Keywords: Lebanon
- Location: BEIRUT AND BAABDA, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT AND BAABDA, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00B56W5B9J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lebanon's president asked Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri to form a new government on Thursday (November 3), after he won the support of a majority of MPs including the influential parliament speaker who said he would cooperate with efforts to set up the new cabinet.
Hariri, speaking at the presidential palace after being asked by President Michel Aoun to form the new government, said he had "great hope" the government could be formed quickly.
Hariri's nomination is part of a political deal that resulted in him endorsing one of his political opponents, Christian leader Michel Aoun, as head of state.
Parliament elected Aoun, an ally of the powerful Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah, as president on Monday, ending a 29-month vacuum in the post.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, head of the Shi'ite Amal movement, had come out in opposition to the deal, voicing objections that had threatened to obstruct the formation of the new government.
But announcing his decision to endorse Hariri for prime minister on Thursday, Berri indicated he would cooperate in efforts to set up the new administration.
"If there was no intention to cooperate, we would not have named him", he said.
Hariri's compromise over Aoun reflects the diminished role played in Lebanon by his regional backer Saudi Arabia, which is battling Iran for influence across the region.
Hezbollah's MPs did not nominate anyone for the post of prime minister, reflecting lingering mistrust towards Hariri. But the group is expected to take part in his cabinet.
In Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system, the post of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni Muslim, the president must be a Maronite Christian, and the parliament speaker must be a Shi'ite Muslim.
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