Lebanon names billionaire businessman as PM to tackle economic woes

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HANDOUT - 26 July 2021, Lebanon, Baabda: Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) holds a meeting with Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri (L) and former premier Najib Mikati at the Baabda Palace. Aoun designated Mikati as the new premier to deal with the country's economic hardships Photo: -/Dalati & Nohra/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full
HANDOUT - 26 July 2021, Lebanon, Baabda: Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) holds a meeting with Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri (L) and former premier Najib Mikati at the Baabda Palace. Aoun designated Mikati as the new premier to deal with the country's economic hardships Photo: -/Dalati & Nohra/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full

Following consultations with the various parliamentary blocs on Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun designated a new premier to deal with the country’s economic hardships, the presidential palace said.

Najib Mikati, 66, a billionaire businessman who has served twice as premier in 2005 and 2011, received 72 votes, the amount needed to be tasked with forming a new cabinet.

Mikati, who hails from the northern port city of Tripoli, was named by the country’s major parliamentary blocs, including the pro-Iranian Hezbollah Shiite movement.

The Christian Lebanese forces and Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement did not name any candidate for the post.

The new premier’s task will be to form a government mainly made up of experts that will deal with the economic crisis, the worst Lebanon has seen since the civil war ended in 1990.

Under the constitution, the president has to consult with the different blocs in parliament before calling on the premier to form a new government.

On July 15, prime minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down, citing political infighting. Caretaker premier Hassan Diab resigned in the wake of the massive explosion at Beirut’s port on August 4.

Lebanon’s president should be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliamentary speaker a Shiite Muslim, according to an unwritten pact to establish a balance in the multi-confessional state that dates back to 1943.

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