Top Hariri aides out after poor showing in Lebanon vote

Beirut (AFP) –


Three key aides of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri were fired or resigned, his office has revealed, a week after a disastrous showing in the country's first general election in almost a decade.

Hariri's Future Movement lost a third of its seats in the May 6 vote, ceding ground to its Christian former allies and parties on the other side of Lebanon's political divide, including the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

The premier's chief of staff, his cousin Nader Hariri, "resigned from all his functions", according to a statement late Saturday, without specifying a reason.

The movement said its coordinator, who was also in charge of the party's election campaign, had been relieved of his duties following a review. It said another unnamed cabinet official had also been dismissed.

Despite seeing his movement lose its status as the largest party in parliament, Lebanon's delicate sectarian balance of power means Hariri is likely to remain prime minister once a deal on a new government is reached.

Hariri blamed some of the movement's losses on Lebanon's new electoral law, but admitted he and his party had "betted on a better result".