Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Thursday awarded a mandate to former prime minister Saad Hariri to form a government after the latter garnered sufficient support from lawmakers. Hariri resigned as prime minister last October 29 amid paralyzing, nationwide demonstrations against Lebanon’s sinking economy, widespread corruption and deeply entrenched sectarian political system. He was succeeded by Hassan Diab – who resigned along with his own government in August after the massive Beirut port explosion. Diplomat Mustapha Adib, tapped to replace Diab, failed to form a coalition and returned his mandate to Aoun, leading the country back to Hariri, considered by many Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician. His businessman father, Rafic, was also prime minister, later being assassinated in a massive truck bombing blamed on figures from Hizbullah and Syria. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to lead international backing for Lebanon’s economic recovery but is conditioning this on major political reforms.
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