By Wassim Saif al-Din
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has nominated current Prime Minister Saad Hariri to head up the country’s next government following parliamentary polls conducted last weekend.
“My candidate for the premiership, regardless of his stance on the Finance Ministry, is Saad Hariri,” Berri said late Wednesday in an interview with Lebanon’s MTV television channel.
Earlier this week, Hariri said that the Taif Accord (which ended Lebanon’s civil war in 1990 and defined the country's current Sectarian system of governance) did not stipulate that the finance portfolio be given to a Shia -- something Berri had demanded earlier.
Berri, the leader of Lebanon’s Shia Amal movement, went on to warn that formation of the incoming government could be postponed due to “complications”. He did not elaborate.
In the same interview, Berri said he had not yet set a date for electing a new parliament speaker but asserted that “everyone has the right to run”.
The Amal movement won 17 seats in Sunday’s parliamentary polls (up from a previous 13 seats), while Hariri’s Future Movement clinched 21 seats (down from a previous 33).
Sunday’s election -- Lebanon's first parliamentary poll in nine years -- saw an unusually low turnout of 49.2 percent.
The election saw 917 candidates from a multiplicity of parties vie for seats in Lebanon’s national assembly, half of which -- under the terms of the Taif Accord -- are reserved for Muslims and half for Christians.
The vote was held under a new proportional list system, which divides the country into 15 electoral constituencies.
According to Lebanon’s constitution, the new parliament will be responsible for electing a new president and prime minister.