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Billionaire businessman Najib Mikati was appointed as Lebanon’s new prime minister-designate on Monday following binding parliamentary consultations with President Michel Aoun.
Mikati ran virtually unopposed, receiving 72 votes, with former ambassador Nawaf Salam receiving just one vote. Forty-two MPs voted blank, and three MPs did not vote at all.
His appointment comes just 11 days after Saad Hariri resigned as prime minister-designate, following nine months of political deadlock and dispute with President Aoun and his son-in-law MP Gebran Bassil.
“With the cooperation of the president, we will form a government according to the French initiative,” Mikati told the press after his appointment, referring to a road map of economic and structural reforms French President Emanuel Macron introduced to Lebanon in August 2020.
If Mikati successfully forms a government, this would be his third stint as Lebanon’s prime minister. He was briefly caretaker prime minister for several months in April 2005, and then headed a full-fledged government in 2011 for three years.
Lebanon’s economy continues to crumble with half the population living below the poverty line and a spiralling local currency that lost more than 90 percent of its value.
The country has been without a full-fledged government for almost one year and is struggling to reform its economy to unlock international aid.