Lebanon's next PM rallies support

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Lebanon's next PM rallies support

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Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is trying to gather support to form a new government.

Mikati is supported by the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah and its allies, leading to anger once more dividing the complex world of Lebanese politics.

The Sunni community is said to be alarmed at Hezbollah’s growing influence.

And there could be wider implications. Washington considers Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and its involvement in Lebanon’s government will affect US relations with Beirut, admits Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mikati describes himself as independent and a moderate. On the streets, cautious hope is mixed with resignation:

“Mikati is a compromise for the Lebanese people. His speech yesterday was good and suggests we will have some stability in the future,” was one man’s opinion.

But “things will stay as they are, nothing will change. What happened before will happen again. The situation will get worse,” thought another.

Tripoli is calm now, but yesterday the streets were thronged with the supporters of the outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, staging a “day of anger” prompted by Mikati’s nomination. The capital, Beirut, was also calm on Wednesday.