Despite the Shia Hezbollah group and its ally Amal Movement have made big gains in the May 6 parliamentary election in Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to be reassigned with forming the new government.
Nabih Berri, the leader of the Amal Movement, who has been the Parliament Speaker since 1992, is likely to be elected to the post for the sixth consecutive time.
However, there are still some issues that need to be resolved before the formation of the new government.
According to local media, the parliament will convene on May 22 to elect the Parliament Speaker under the presidency of the Lebanese Forces (Phalange) Party and former Deputy Prime Minister Michel Murr.
Under the Taif Accord that ended Lebanon’s civil war in 1989, President Michel Aoun will hold talks with Lebanese blocs in parliament to discuss the government formation.
According to Taif Accord, the president is elected from among Christians; the prime minister is picked up from among Sunnis and Parliament Speaker will be a Shia.
Sources close to Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement said that Hariri was likely to be chosen to head up the new government.
According to the sources, Hariri has the strongest and biggest political bloc among Sunnis.
In a statement, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Hariri was his candidate for premiership, despite his stance on the Ministry of Finance.
He said the formation of the new government might be delayed due to the current political issues.
Hariri had earlier said the Taif Accord did not stipulate that the finance portfolio be given to a Shia -- something Berri had demanded earlier.
Samir Geagea, head of Lebanese Forces Party and a former ally of Hariri, said in televised statements that the political agenda had to be set first before Hariri was assigned with forming a government. He asserted that the former government wasn't that successful.
Lebanese political sources said the major issues on the political agenda include shielding Lebanon against political escalations and maintaining security and stability.
Hezbollah, with whom Hariri didn't form an alliance during the election, is expected to oppose Hariri's premiership.
In addition to the electoral gains by Hezbollah and Amal Movement in the polls, Geagea's Lebanese Forces Party also made big gains.
Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement now has 18 lawmakers, down from 22 in the previous assembly. Hariri's Future Party also grabbed 21 seats, down from 34.
According to unofficial results of the polls, Hezbollah won 14 seats, Amal Movement grabbed 17, Free Patriotic Movement and allies won 29, Hariri’s Future Movement won 21, the pro-Syria Social Nationalist Party snatched 3 seats, former presidential candidate Suleiman Frangieh's Christian Marada Movement won 3, former prime minister Najib Mikati's Azm Movement won 4, Druze leader Walid Junmblatt's Progressive Socialist Party won 8, Lebanese Forces Party won 16, Kataeb Party won 3, Hezbollah-allied political parties won 4 along with six independent figures -- two of whom are women.
According to Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, the turnout in the parliamentary polls reached 49.20 percent.
The May 6 election was the first in Lebanon since 2009.
The vote was held under a new electoral law that adopted a proportional representation system over pluralism.
According to the Taif Agreement, the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament are divided between Muslims and Christians.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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