Lebanon President Michel Aoun has designated Saad Al-Hariri as PM: Presidency Office

President Michel Aoun on Thursday designated Saad Al-Hariri to be Lebanon's next prime minister. (Dalati Nohra/Lebanese Government via AP)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Lebanon President Michel Aoun has designated Saad Al-Hariri as PM: Presidency Office

BEIRUT: Lebanese lawmakers designated Prime Minister Saad Hariri for a third term in office Thursday, less than three weeks after elections that saw his movement lose ground in parliament.
"The head of state summoned prime minister Saad Hariri and tasked him with forming a government," said a statement posted on social media by the office of President Michel Aoun.
The presidency made the announcement after Hariri, 48, was endorsed by a vast majority of members of parliament after only a few hours of consultations.
Hariri said in a statement that he would seek to form a new government as quickly as possible in order to implement some of the reforms pledged earlier this year to secure key foreign aid.
"I thank all my fellow deputies who entrusted me with forming a new government, hoping we will do so as soon as possible for the benefit of Lebanon and the Lebanese," he said.
Speaking to reporters before leaving the presidential palace, he reaffirmed his policy of "disassociation", a term used to describe efforts to keep Lebanon out of the region's conflicts.
"The new government will need to consolidate its policy of disassociation and continue efforts to face the refugee crisis," he said.
The small Middle eastern country has seen its population increase by a third with the influx of refugees pouring in from neighbouring Syria, which has been torn by war for seven years.
A conference dubbed CEDRE and held in Paris in April raised $11 billion in low-interest loans and aid for Lebanon, whose public debt stands at 150 percent of gross domestic product, the world's third highest rate behind Japan and Greece.
Hariri's Future movement lost a third of its seats on May 6, when Lebanon held its first legislative election in nine years and voters reinforced the weight of the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies.
The Iran-backed party, the only group to have kept its weapons after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, and its allies control more than half of parliament's 128 seats.
That is expected to protect the US terror-listed organisation from attempts to push for its disarmament, a cause long championed by Hariri and his Sunni-dominated bloc.
While Hezbollah had been content in recent years exercising its influence on the government via second-tier portfolios and its political allies, observers predict it will this time ask for bigger ministries.
The movement's leader Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to give a televised speech on Friday.
Lebanon's unique sectarian power-sharing arrangements provide for parliament to be split equally between Christians and Muslims and stipulate that the president be Maronite, the premier Sunni and the speaker Shiite.
Speaker Nabih Berri, who has held the position since 1992, was given a new term on Wednesday.
Hariri has been prime minister since December 2016 and served his first term from 2009 to 2011. His father, who was assassinated in 2005, also served two terms between 1992 and 2004.


Ravi Ashwin unrepentant over ‘Mankad’ mayhem in IPL

Updated 15 min 58 sec ago
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Ravi Ashwin unrepentant over ‘Mankad’ mayhem in IPL

  • India spinner says law shows he was within his rights to run out Buttler.
  • Ashwin told he is a 'disgrace' by Shane Warne and other former players.

LONDON: Ravi Ashwin has reignited the heated debate over whether the “spirit of the game” should be considered when potentially running out an opposition batsman.
Coming into bowl during his Kings XI Punjab side’s match against the Rajasthan Royals the Indian spinner checked his run as Royals batsman Jos Buttler left his crease, and whipped off his bails. Known as a “Mankad” the dismissal is within the laws of the game but critics say it is unsportsmanlike and not in the spirit of the deeply traditional sport.

 


Australian spin king Shane Warne was just one of a number of former players who took to Twitter to attack Ashwin for the dismissal saying: “As captain of your side you set the standard... Why do such a disgraceful and low act like that tonight?” tweeted the Australian.
“You must live with yourself and FYI — it’s too late to say sorry Mr.Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act.”

But Ashwin was in no mood for contrition and claimed so long as the dismissal is legal he, and others, should have no problem continuing getting batsmen out that way.
“On my part, it was very instinctive,” the 32-year-old said.
“It was not planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t understand where the spirit of the game comes, naturally if it’s there in the rules it’s there.
“I don’t understand the point of ‘sporting’ in that point because it’s rules.”
The dismissal prompted Buttler to shout in the direction of Ashwin as he walked off the pitch and a Royals collapse, losing seven wickets for 16 runs as Kings XI Punjab won by 14 runs.