BEIRUT (Reuters) – Former minister Hassan Diab, who has the backing of Hezbollah and its allies, gained enough votes from lawmakers on Thursday to be named Lebanon’s new prime minister.

President Michel Aoun hosted consultations on Thursday with deputies to pick the new premier, who must be a Sunni Muslim under the country’s sectarian power-sharing system. Aoun is required to designate the candidate with the most support from Lebanon’s 128 MPs.

While the consultations were still ongoing, Diab now has enough votes that he cannot be overtaken by the second-placed candidate, diplomat Nawaf Salam, according to a Reuters count and a tally from local TV stations.

Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Alison Williams