Mikati Wins Parliamentary Majority for Designation as New PM

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Mikati Wins Parliamentary Majority for Designation as New PM

Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati won a parliamentary majority for his designation as Lebanon's new prime minister Monday during President Michel Aoun's binding consultations with MPs.

Seventy-two lawmakers from the 118-member parliament consulted by the president nominated the billionaire businessman to try a form a Cabinet that would enact reforms and supervise next year's general elections. Fourty-two MPs did not name anyone, three did not attend the consultations and one lawmaker nominated Nawaf Salam.

Aoun is expected to issue shortly a decree appointing Mikati as prime minister-designate.

Aoun started the one-day consultations at Baabda Palace with a meeting with Mikati. He then met other former PMs before began various parliamentary blocs and independent MPs to hear from them their nominations.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who less than two weeks ago stepped down as PM-designate, and his Future bloc nominated Mikati, as did rival Hezbollah's bloc.

Hariri told reporters after meeting Aoun that he hoped Mikati would be chosen and succeed in forming a Cabinet.

"The country has a chance today," he said.

"Today, with signs that hint at the possibility of forming a government ... that's why we named Mikati, to give an extra boost to facilitate forming a government," Mohammad Raad, the leader of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc told reporters.

Once consultations are completed Monday afternoon, Aoun will appoint the candidate who receives most nominations.

Hariri and other ex-premiers Sunday voiced support for Mikati, in a move that secured sufficient parliamentary majority for the Tripoli MP’s premiership bid, despite opposition from the country’s two main Christian parties: The Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces.

Under the Constitution, Aoun is required to designate a candidate for prime minister with the most support from parliamentary blocs.

Lebanon has been left without a functioning government since caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab submitted his Cabinet’s resignation on Aug. 10 in the aftermath of last year’s massive explosion that pulverized Beirut Port, killed 210 people, wounded thousands and damaged entire neighborhoods in the capital.

Source: The Daily Star