Mikati briefs Suleiman on government talks


Lebanon’s premier-designate Najib Mikati on Saturday briefed President Suleiman on his talks on forming a new government, set to be boycotted by outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri.

Mikati, backed Hezbollah and its March 8 allies , was appointed last Tuesday by president Michel Suleiman as PM-designate to form and head the next cabinet , giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country and provoking widespread protests.

The Iranian- and Syria-backed Hezbollah brought down Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s ( STL) indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 .

The March 14 alliance is demanding that Mikati, a political moderate with good ties to Syria, guarantee he will not disavow the tribunal.

Mikati did not make any comments after his meeting Suleiman.

Mikati held two days of talks with parliamentary groups on forming his government, ending on Friday with the Hariri camp still refusing to join his administration.

There is a lot of speculation on the shape of Mikati’s cabinet . Al Safir newspaper which is close to Hezbollah reported that it will consist of 24 ministers, who will represent all religious sects but not all political parties …Only March 8 and its new allies such as MP Walid Jumblatt and minister Mohammad Safadi will be represented in the cabinet according to the paper.



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