Lebanon’s new Prime Minister begins bid to form the long-awaited cabinet

Lebanon’s new prime minister-designate Najib Mikati was due to start consultations with leading political parties Tuesday with a view to forming a long-awaited government.

The designation of billionaire politician, already twice a prime minister, was on Monday, days after Saad Hariri threw in the towel.

The government of Hassan Diab resigned following a deadly port explosion in Beirut last August and efforts to

agree on a new lineup have proved fruitless.

The institutional vacuum is holding up a potential financial rescue plan for Lebanon, which defaulted on its debt

last year and has since sunk into what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s most severe crisis

since the mid-19th century.

The designation of the 65-year-old Mikati, Lebanon’s richest man and to many a symbol of its corrupt oligarchy,

was met with general skepticism.

Mikati, the third politician in a year to attempt the job, promised to form a government of experts, in line with a

French roadmap conditioning a huge aid package on reform and transparency.

In an interview, Mikati vowed his lineup would be “purely technocratic”.

Tuesday’s meetings with the parliamentary blocs are the customary official step that follows a new

prime minister’s designation but the high-stakes horse-trading has yet to begin.

The current caretaker government also describes itself as technocratic but each one of its members was endorsed

by the political barons who have run the country for decades.

By Taiyelolu A

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