Lebanon’s leading Sunni Muslim politician Saad al-Hariri secured enough support in parliamentary talks on Thursday to be named prime minister and try to form a government to tackle the worst crisis since the country’s 1975-1990 civil war.
A tally by Reuters and local media of nominations declared by politicians after consultations with President Michel Aoun showed Hariri had won the backing of 47 parliamentarians, more than the number of MPs yet to formally declare their stance.
Hariri would still face major challenges to navigate Lebanon’s power-sharing politics and agree a cabinet, which must then address a mounting list of woes: a banking crisis, currency crash, rising poverty and crippling state debts.
A new government will also have to contend with a COVID-19 surge and the fallout of the huge August explosion at Beirut port that killed nearly 200 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.
Sunni leader Hariri’s last coalition government was toppled almost exactly a year ago as protests gripped the country, furious at Lebanon’s ruling elite.