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Lebanon president appoints Mikati as prime minister

"Day of rage" in Lebanon as Mikati set to be next PM

Published:

Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman appointed telecoms tycoon Najib Mikati, who is backed by Hezbollah and its allies, as prime minister-designate on Tuesday, a presidential statement said.

Speaking after the appointment, Mikati said he would start talks to form the government on Thursday and urged all Lebanese factions to overcome their differences.

Mikati, 55 and a Sunni from Tripoli, received the backing of 65 of parliament's 128 MPs who have been meeting since Monday with President Michel Suleiman after Hezbollah brought down the unity government of Western-backed Saad Hariri on Jan. 12.

Suleiman was expected to appoint Mikati to head the new government later on Tuesday after wrapping up his consultations with parliamentary groups.

His probable appointment has sparked widespread anger within the Sunni community. It is seen as a bid by the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah to sideline Hariri, the most popular Sunni leader in Lebanon, and essentially take control of the government.