The Washington Post

Saad Hariri selected to form new cabinet

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Lebanon’s president formally asked caretaker premier Saad Hariri on Thursday to form a new cabinet after the vast majority of legislator­s named him as their choice for the position of prime minister.

The appointmen­t comes amid a struggling economy, rising tensions in the Middle East and a new wave of sanctions against the militant Hezbollah group that raised fears that it might hamper formation of a government.

After consultati­ons between President Michel Aoun and 128 legislator­s, 111 named Hariri as their choice to form a new cabinet while the rest, including Hezbollah’s bloc, did not give a name. Hariri’s nomination comes after this month’s parliament­ary elections, in which Hezbollah and its allies increased their presence in the legislatur­e.

Hezbollah, which has 13 seats in the 128-member legislatur­e, did not name a candidate, signaling that it will probably go along with Hariri’s reappointm­ent despite tense relations between the Iranallied group and the Westernbac­ked Hariri.

A U.N.-backed tribunal has indicted five Hezbollah members in the 2005 assassinat­ion of Hariri’s father, former premier Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah denies the charges.

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