Sat. Oct 16th, 2021

The billionaire businessman is now tasked with forming a reformist government for a possible third stint as PM.

Lebanon’s billionaire businessman Najib Mikati has been named the country’s new prime minister-designate after receiving the backing of the majority of parliamentarians on Monday.

Mikati, who has been in the post twice in the past, received 72 votes out of a total of 118 lawmakers. Mikati does not hail from a political bloc or dynasty.

The voting took place at the Baabda Palace, where President Michel Aoun undertook consultations with the parliamentary bloc from 10:30am (07:30 GMT).

Lebanon has been facing a worsening economic crisis since the Beirut Port blast last year that killed some 200 people and devastated large parts of the capital.

The country has since been run by a caretaker administration and has witnessed its currency collapsing and unemployment soaring.

Banks have frozen accounts in Lebanon’s worst economic freefall since the 1975-1990 civil war.

The international community has repeatedly called on Lebanon to form a government committed to enacting structural reforms in order to unlock development loans and aid to restructure and recover its economy.

But on July 16, former PM-designate Saad Hariri resigned having failed to form a government after nine months of political deadlock that did not budge despite intervention from France, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and other Lebanese political leadership.

In Lebanon’s political system, the post of prime minister has to be held by a Sunni Muslim, the presidency is held by a Maronite Christian, and the speaker of parliament is a Shia Muslim.

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