Lebanon’s Saad Hariri has won a new term as Prime Minister after securing support from the vast majority of lawmakers in the country’s new Parliament, Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced Thursday.
Hariri received backing from 111 politicians in the 128-seat Parliament, up from 80 in his previous election, according to Lebanon’s official news agency. All major parliamentary blocs supported him, except for Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group supported by Iran, which abstained.
The Saudi-backed Hariri is set to become premier for a third time. He faces the difficult task of forming a Cabinet in the aftermath of a parliamentary election that saw political opposition Hezbollah make gains, and his own bloc lose nearly a third of its seats.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah called the results a “great moral and political victory.”
“Everyone seriously intends to facilitate the formation of a government. What unites us is greater than what divides us,” Hariri said from Lebanon’s presidential palace after being formally tasked with the formation of a new Cabinet.
“I extend my hand to all political entities in the country to achieve what the Lebanese are looking for,” he said.
Lebanon faces a series of political and economic crises. With a large refugee population, a decaying infrastructure and growing unemployment, many Lebanese say they have no hope in the country’s political players, and less than half of voters went to the polls in this month’s election.
Hariri is the son and political heir of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was credited with ushering Lebanon into a reconstruction era after its 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. The five-time Prime Minister was assassinated in a 2005 bombing that plunged Lebanon into political crisis.