Hariri received 65 parliamentary votes out of 118, giving him the mandate to form his fourth government after Lebanon’s political establishment failed to agree on a strong alternative to a French-proposed salvage plan that is meant to lead the bankrupt country out of its deepest economic and political crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. His record and failure to win the backing of the two main Christian parties, will hinder Hariri’s mission and his return will be unpopular with thousands of Lebanese who filled the streets last year demanding the removal of a political class they blame for the country’s ills.

The 50-year-old son of assassinated former premier Rafiq Hariri resigned after weeks of protest in October 2019 as leader of a national unity government that had represented most of the parties in power, but was paralyzed by divisions, unable to take the painful measures needed to avert a financial collapse that took years in the making.