May 28, 2018 / 9:15 AM / in 4 months

Lebanon's Berri expects cabinet within a month, newspaper reports

BEIRUT, May 28 (Reuters) - Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri expects a new coalition government to be formed within a month because nobody has an interest in a delay, the newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported on Monday.

Saad al-Hariri, who was designated prime minister last week, is due to hold consultations with newly elected members of parliament on Monday about the new government, which is expected to include all Lebanon’s main parties.

“Nobody has an interest in delaying the birth of the government or putting complications in its way,” Berri told people who had visited him, the Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal said.

Hariri, who will be prime minister for the third time, said last week all parties agreed that economic risks at home and growing dangers in the region meant a national unity government must be formed as quickly as possible.

The Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah aims to secure a bigger say in this coalition government than it had in the last one, after the group and its allies made significant gains in a May 6 parliamentary election.

Hezbollah, along with groups and individuals that support its possession of arms, won at least 70 of parliament’s 128 seats in the election, a reversal of Lebanon’s last legislative election, which returned an anti-Hezbollah majority.

Hariri remains Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician despite losing more than a third of his MPs in the election. The staunchly anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces party is seeking a bigger slice of government portfolios after nearly doubling its number of MPs in parliament. It now has 15 MPs.

Reporting by Tom Perry, editing by Larry King

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