Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Thursday launched
talks with the country's various political parties in his second bid to
form a coalition government since a June election.
Hariri, who met with parliament speaker and opposition Amal party leader Nabih Berri, was reappointed as prime minister last week, days after resigning. He
left his post after more than 10 weeks of fruitless attempts to form a
Visiting Hudson Institute fellow Lee Smith says that Hariri's decision to return was expected.
would come back and have more power to form a government. Whether or
not that is the case remains to be seen, but that was the idea behind
his resignation," Smith said.
Hariri came to power after parliamentary elections in June. His
coalition won 71 of 128 parliament seats, while Hezbollah and its
allies took 57.
A month later a Lebanese power-sharing system
was formed to divide power under religious lines. The president would
have to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and
the Parliament speaker a Shi'ite.
opposition to his cabinet choices kept him from forming a government and led to his resignation on September 7.
Smith says it is not
known whether or not Hariri's second attempt will be more successful.
But, regardless, he still faces the same challenges.
think it's not going to change the situation fundamentally at all; you
still have the problem of an armed group, mainly Hezbollah, that runs a
separate foreign policy and that has carefully built a state within a
state for the last thirty years now. So the fundamental issues are not
going to go away," Smith said.
These are the fundamental issues
that Hariri will have to face again in a series of talks scheduled
until next Tuesday with various other parties including militant group