Former leader Najib Mikati named as new PM designate to form a new government for Lebanon
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l" LEBANON President General Michel Aoun has named former PM and businessman Najib Mikati as the new Prime Minister-designate following binding parliamentary consultations at Baabda Palace. Mikati received 72 votes from the deputies, Ambassador Nawaf Salam received just one vote, 42 MPs abstained and three were absent. President Aoun informed Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of the outcome of the consultations and summoned Mikati to the palace to appoint him in the presence of Berri.
LtoR: Berri, Aoun and Mikati
NEW PM-designate Najib Mikati says he has no illusions about the enormity of the task that awaits him.
“The step is difficult but I am reassured,” he said after he was named the new PM-designate, succeeding Saad Hariri.
“For a while I have been studying the issue. If I did not have the required external guarantees, and I was (not) convinced that it was time for someone to be at the forefront of those working to limit the fire, I would not have done that.”
He explained: “I am sure that in co-operation with His Excellency the President, we will be able to form the required government. One of its first tasks is to implement the French initiative, which is in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese economy’s revival.”
He said that he had taken it upon himself “not to respond to what is being said in the media and social media, and that the best of speech is what is said and indicated”.
After his meeting with President Aoun, Mikati issued a statement. Excerpts from that statement are as follows: “His Excellency the President informed me of the result of the binding parliamentary consultations and my assignment to form the new government. I thanked His Excellency and all the deputies, who named me and those who did not name me; I hope that we all co-operate to find solutions. Constitutionally, it is necessary to have the trust of deputies but in fact I am looking forward to the trust of the people, the trust of every man and woman. I do not have a magic wand and I cannot work wonders; we are in a very difficult situation. Of course, the task is difficult but we will succeed if we all combine our efforts and join hands together, away from bickering, polemics and useless accusations”.
“Today I took this step, aware of the situation. Therefore, I say: ‘Yes, we were on the verge of collapse; we were in front of a fire that spread daily and almost reached everyone’s homes’. Therefore, I took the decision, after relying on God, to try to stop the expansion of this fire.”
“As for putting out the fire, it requires all of our co-operation; we have to act together. I know that the step is difficult but I am reassured. For a while I have been studying the issue. If I did not have the required external guarantees, and I was convinced that it was time for someone to be at the forefront of those working to reduce the fire, I would not have done that.”
He continued: "God willing, and with the love of everyone, and all Lebanese men and women, I call to be together, I hope not to respond to what is being said. The important thing is that we continue, and I am sure that in cooperation with His Excellency the President - and I just spoke to him - We will be able to form the required government, and one of its first tasks is to implement the French initiative, which is in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese economy and its revival."
Meanwhile, General Michel Aoun affirmed in an earlier interview with General Security magazine that he would fight to the end of his constitutional term to “snatch the state from the grasp of those who wreaked havoc and destruction on it”.
“Enough with blindly being dragged behind by sectarianism and leaders who have failed to build the state. The Lebanese must strive for the birth of a new political class that will achieve a modern civil state,” he said, noting that “the problem is not in the constitution but in the failure to implement it”.
“I provided all the necessary facilitations to form a government but the PM-designate did not observe the principle of national partnership. Concessions are required from everyone today. What we need is a stance of conscience, and France is seeking, through President Emmanuel Macron, to find common grounds for an understanding to rescue Lebanon,” the president added.
He explained that “some of the perpetrators of the crime of financial collapse are still in power to this day and are desperate to escape impunity,” adding that “the corrupt system is coherently built and well rooted, be it political or non-political.”
Aoun stressed that the parliamentary and municipal elections of 2022 will take place.