Friday September 24, 2021

Lebanon picks billionaire Najib Mikati to form new govt

July 27, 2021

Beirut: Lebanese lawmakers on Monday tasked ex-premier and billionaire Najib Mikati with forming a government and ending one year of political deadlock that has crippled the economy.

A new government would face the daunting task of trying to steer Lebanon out of what the World Bank says is one of the world’s worst financial crises in more than 150 years, and to polls due to take place next year.

Mikati, a 65-year-old telecommunications mogul seen by some as a symbol of Lebanon’s corrupt oligarchy, called his designation a "difficult step" and urged the Lebanese people to support him. Mikati will pick up where his predecessor Saad Hariri left off earlier this month when he quit after failing to broker a deal despite intense international pressure.

He clinched more than 72 endorsements, the official National News Agency said, including from the powerful Hezbollah movement. One MP voted in favour of veteran diplomat Nawaf Salam, while 42 others, including from President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, abstained from endorsing any candidate.