Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been tasked with forming his fourth government, winning a slim majority of votes in parliament just under a year after his resignation amid mass-protests last year.

Iran Press/Middle East: Hariri named prime minister following consultations by President Michel Aoun with the various parliamentary blocs, Al Jazeera reported.

Hariri’s dramatic return was enabled by the votes of 65 MPs from across the country’s political spectrum, including his own Future Movement, the Shia Amal Movement, the Druze Progressive Socialist Party, and the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, ostensibly secular but closely allied to Hezbollah, a Shia party with its own military wing.

Abstentions, numbering 53, also came from different political groups, including the Lebanese Forces, former Hariri allies who have been styling themselves as opposition, and their opponents the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), former coalition partners with Hariri before ties soured.

In a short address following his designation, Hariri promised to form a government of non-partisan experts to implement economic and political reforms outlined in an initiative proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron during a September visit.

Hariri also promised to work to reconstruct Beirut from damage sustained in an August 4 explosion, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in modern history, which killed 200 people, injured more than 6,500, and destroyed large parts of the city.

The blast caused up to $4.6bn in material damage and $3.2bn in associated economic losses, according to a World Bank assessment.

In a sign of Lebanon’s deep political crisis, Hariri is the third person to be tasked with forming a government this year, after little-known academic Hassan Diab – who succeeded in forming a government but resigned after the blast – and diplomat Mustafa Adib, who was unsuccessful.

Hariri received the smallest number of votes in parliament, compared with Diab’s 69 and Adib’s 90.

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