A Hezbollah-backed billionaire businessman has been asked to form Lebanon’s next government, in a move that has infuriated some parts of the population.
A presidential decree appointed Najib Mikati prime minister-designate after he won the support of a majority of MPs. Reaching out to all Lebanese factions, he denied the outcome of parliamentary consultations was a victory for one camp over another.
“It is a victory for unity, a victory of moderation over extremism, unity over fragmentation, reconciliation over separation,” Mikati said. “The slogan of responsible governance is determination and tolerance.”
A telecoms tycoon, Mikati is an ally-turned-foe of Saad al-Hariri who until now has been Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister. Although a Sunni himself, Mikati was the candidate of the opposition, led by Shi’ite Islamists Hezbollah.
Hariri supporters have denounced what they see as a pro-Iranian coup.