| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

PM-designate Najib Mikati begins bid to form cabinet

New Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati will start consultations with leading political parties on Tuesday to form a long-awaited government.

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

Hassan Diab’s government has 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 las year and has since sunk into what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s most severe crises since the mid-19th century.

Mikati’s designation, Lebanon’s richest man and to many a symbol of its corrupt oligarchy, was met with general skepticism. He is 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.

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.

  • alarabiya