Lebanon Lawmakers Approve Hezbollah-backed Government

Western-backed coalition walks out of parliament after Hezbollah-run cabinet wins vote of confidence.

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The Hezbollah-backed Lebanese government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati won Thursday a parliamentary vote of confidence after three days of heated debate.

Lebanon's new government won the votes of 68 lawmakers in the 128-seat parliament.
Parliamentarians loyal to former prime minister Saad Hariri of the Western-backed coalition walked out of the chamber as the voting began.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link during a rally in Beirut on Feb. 16, 2011. Credit: AP

The three-day deliberations in parliament 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 his father, former premier Rafik Hariri.

Hariri was killed on February 14, 2005 in a massive bomb blast in a seaside area of Beirut.
Hariri's allies during their speeches in parliament said the new cabinet was a result of a "coup against democracy."

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 U.S.-Israeli plot which is targeting Hezbollah and Syria."

On June 30, the UN court, 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.

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