The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minsiter Najib Mikati should not have come as a surprise to Beirut’s political observers. Nevertheless, it leaves Lebanon at a critical juncture, between the risk of an extended political vacuum and instability, and the opportunity of forming a broad-based coalition government that paves the way for Parliamentary elections and shields the country from the regional upheaval.
The resignation, however, breaks the political deadlock inside Lebanon and could be an opportunity for a broader dialogue that Mikati had called for in his statement.Joyce Karam
Mikati announced his resignation late last night at the Grand Serail after disputes with the Hezbollah majority inside the cabinet over the elections law and extending the tenure of the head of the Interior Security Ashraf Rifi, which was favored by the Prime Minister. Mikati’s disagreement with Hezbollah was not the first. In his 20 months as Prime Minister, they clashed over Hezbollah’s refusal to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and to strengthen the country’s security apparatus and lately over the Syrian government violations inside Lebanon.