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Lebanon's Saad Hariri set to become PM for third time

Handout/Dalati and Nohra/AFP | A handout picture provided by the Lebanese photo agency Dalati and Nohra on May 7, 2018, shows Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri talking to journalists during a news conference in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Lebanese lawmakers designated Prime Minister Saad Hariri for a third term in office Thursday, less than three weeks after elections that saw his movement lose ground in parliament.

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“The head of state summoned Prime Minister Saad Hariri and tasked him with forming a government,” said a statement posted on social media by the office of President Michel Aoun.

The presidency made the announcement after Hariri was endorsed by enough members of parliament.

Hariri, 48, is now expected to start consultations to form a coalition government.

His Future movement lost a third of its seats on May 6, when Lebanon held its first legislative election in nine years and voters reinforced the weight of the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies.

Lebanon’s unique sectarian power-sharing arrangements provide for parliament to be split equally between Christians and Muslims and stipulate that the president be Maronite, the premier Sunni and the speaker Shiite.

Speaker Nabih Berri, who has held the position since 1992, was given a new term on Wednesday.

Hariri has been prime minister since December 2016 and served his first term from 2009 to 2011.

(AFP)

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