Lebanon’s Sunni businessman Najib Mikati expected to be named Prime Minister
Lebanon’s former premier Najib Mikati is on course to become the prime minister-designate of the crisis-hit country after receiving massive support from Sunni leaders and other political parties. On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun held binding parliamentary consultations with political leaders to nominate a new prime minister to lead the government in the country.
Political leaders back Mikati
As per reports by the official National News Agency, Tripoli MP and business tycoon Najib Mikati has received the backing of three former Lebanese prime ministers, including Saad Hariri, Fouad Siniora, and Tamam Salam.
During meetings between political leaders on Sunday, Mikati received huge support from Sunni political leaders, including Speaker Nabih Berri. Furthermore, the Amal Movement and Druze-majority Progressive Socialist Party have also announced their support for Mikati.
As per Lebanon’s political system, any nominee receiving the majority of votes in parliament forms the government. While the prime minister’s position is held by a Sunni Muslim, the presidency is undertaken by a Maronite Christian and the speaker is a Shia Muslim.
After the resignation of caretaker PM Hassan Diab and his cabinet in August 2020 in view of the Beirut port explosion, Lebanon has been facing unprecedented political and financial crises in the absence of a legitimate government.
The country has been experiencing nine months of political deadlock after prime minister-designate Hariri and President Aoun failed to reach an agreement on the size and power distribution in the new Lebanese cabinet. Due to failure in establishing a government, Lebanon has not been able to implement much-needed reforms and access necessary international aid to support the country in overcoming the prolonging economic crisis. World governments, including France, have been pressuring the Lebanese political elite to ensure efforts to form a government in order to facilitate reforms to bring out the country from crisis.
Who is Najib Mikati?
Previously, the 65-year-old political veteran served as the prime minister of a caretaker government in Lebanon for three months in 2005 and then a full-fledged government from April 2011 until February 2014. Leader of the Azm Movement Party, Mikati has also worked as the minister of public works and transportation in the Lebanese government in 1998.
If Mikati is designated as the new Prime Minister of Lebanon, the challenging process of forming the government will begin. However, it could take months before a full-functioning government is actually in place amid power struggle between the political elite for ministerial positions.