Forced to resign by the street nearly a year ago on 29 October 2019 but leaving his post as President of the Lebanese Council of Ministers only on 21 January 2020, Saad Hariri (50) has just been charged, on Thursday 22 October 2020, to form the new Lebanese government.
Hariri was backed by his own Future lawmakers, Druze politician Walid Jumblatt's party and other small blocs.
His successor Hassan Diab, a technocrat supported by Hezbollah, stepped down after the port explosion, which was triggered by several thousand tonnes of poorly-stored explosive materials in Beirut port that the authorities appeared to know about but failed to take action on.
Regardless, some applaud the return of Hariri, who resigned last October under pressure from ongoing anti-authority protests in Lebanon, believing that his contacts and alliances with the West and Gulf countries will help Lebanon escape its worst economic crisis since the country's 1975-1990 civil war.
He was set to start consulting the country's various parliamentary blocs from Friday, the parliament said in a statement.
But his record, and failure to win the backing of the two main Christian parties, will hinder Mr Hariri's mission and his return is unpopular with tens of thousands of Lebanese who filled the streets previous year demanding the removal of a political class they blame for the country's ills.
Thursday's nomination follows weeks of political wrangling that has delayed a deal on a new government.
A enormous explosion in August in Beirut's port, caused by thousands of potentially explosive chemicals stored in a warehouse there, compounded the crises.
Another major Christian party, the Lebanese Forces, also formerly a Hariri ally, withheld support.
Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad said that "national understanding" was needed to "preserve Lebanon" and that it would work to create a "positive atmosphere" to support the Cabinet formation process.
Hariri's return to office has also been rejected by protesters, who see him as a symbol of a political class they blame for the country's woes. MP Georges Adwan said.
"The president summoned. Saad al-Deen al-Hariri to task him with forming a government", a spokesman for the presidency said. "It is now facing a test".
"I thank my fellow MPs, especially those who honored me by designating me to form a government of non-partisan specialists, whose mission is to implement the economic, financial and administrative reforms mentioned in the French initiative paper".
The French initiative seeks to chart Lebanon away from financial ruin and comprises a road map of reforms that French President Emmanuel Macron said would unlock worldwide aid if followed.
The consultations are expected to end later on Thursday. Aoun is required to choose the candidate with the most support from lawmakers.
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