Saad Hariri has been named the new prime minister of Lebanon, taking
over a post once held by his father, Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman appointed Mr. Hariri on Saturday, after a majority of lawmakers had nominated him.
Speaking at the presidential palace, Mr. Hariri pledged to work to mend
divisions between Lebanon's rival political factions and to form a
harmonious unity government.
The 39-year-old Saad Hariri heads a pro-Western party that won
elections earlier this month. A coalition led by Hezbollah, which is
backed by Iran and Syria, has the second largest number of seats in
Lebanon's 128-seat assembly.
Mr. Hariri and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah have pledged to
cooperate in forming a unity government. But Mr. Hariri says he will
not allow the Hezbollah alliance to keep the veto power it has
benefited from in the outgoing cabinet.
Thursday, Lebanese lawmakers re-elected pro-Hezbollah lawmaker Nabih
Berri as parliamentary speaker. He has held the the position since 1992.
In Lebanon's complex power-sharing system, the prime minister must
always be a Sunni Muslim, while the speaker of parliament is a Shi'ite
and the president a Maronite Christian.
The assassination of Rafiq Hariri, which many blamed on Syria, sparked
massive protests that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from