Lebanon's pro-Hezbollah government gains parliament backing
The Hezbollah-backed Lebanese government of Premier Nagib Mikati on Thursday won a parliamentary vote of confidence after three days of heated debate, dpa reported.
Lebanon's new government won the votes of 68 lawmakers in the 128-seat parliament.
Parliamentarians loyal to former prime minister Saad Hariri walked out of the chamber as the voting began.
The deliberations saw heated exchanges between the Hezbollah-led lawmakers and allies of Hariri, whose government was toppled by the group and its allies in January over a dispute regarding the United Nations tribunal into the 2005 killing of Hariri's father, former premier Rafik Hariri.
Rafik Hariri was killed on February 14, 2005 in a massive bomb blast in a seaside area of Beirut.
Hariri's allies, during their parliamentary speeches, said the new cabinet was a result of a "coup against democracy."
The Future Current Movement of Saad Hariri said it will continue to support the UN tribunal "to achieve justice." It vowed to say "no to Hezbollah's government ... Yes to coexistence, democracy, freedom and the Constitution."
Shortly before his 30-member cabinet was granted a vote of confidence, Mikati promised that his government "confirms it will continue the path of the tribunal ... and continue to cooperate in this regard as per the UN Security Council Resolution which set up the tribunal to see justice served."
Hezbollah has blasted the UN tribunal as being "a US-Israeli plot which is targeting Hezbollah and Syria."
On June 30, the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), set up in the Hague in 2009 to probe suspects in the Hariri case, issued warrants against four members of the Lebanese Shiite group, prompting Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah to pledge that the group will not hand over any of the suspects.
The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, reacted to the vote of confidence, saying: "Today's vote of confidence of the Lebanese Parliament allows the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Mikati to begin its work.
"The EU expects the new government to uphold all its international obligations ... The STL must continue its work with the full cooperation of all parties. Achieving international justice and preserving stability in Lebanon are mutually reinforcing goals."