Hezbollah Backed Sunni Businessman Forms New Government in Lebanon
America educated billionaire Sunni businessperson Mr Mikati is appointed as the new Prime Minister for Lebanon. The new government has the backing of the Shia Islamic group Hezbollah, a key player in Lebanon politics. He replaced the former western supported Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of murdered president Rafik Hariri.
Lebanon’s national unity cabinet collapsed on 12 January after a row over a UN tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Rafik Hariri, the father of Western-backed caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Mr Hariri had refused to renounce the UN inquiry that correspondents say will blame senior Hezbollah figures for his father’s murder. Hezbollah says the investigation is politically motivated.
The latest development proves that the Hezbollah group gained strength in Lebanese Parliament, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the US government. The US expressed displeasure over the development. The US has said it would have "great concerns about a government within which Hezbollah plays a leading role" as per BBC News.
Supporters of Mr Saad Hariri rallied in the country protesting against the ousting of the Hariri government, which they accused as a coup. Mr Hariri called his supporters to observe calm. The new Prime Minister said he was not a supporter of Hezbollah and he would keep equal distance from all groups adding that he was a moderate person. At least sixty-eight parliamentary deputies supported Mr Hariri as opposed to sixty for Hariri. BBC said It was the decision of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and six members of his Progressive Socialist Party to switch their allegiance from Mr Hariri that swung the vote, but Hezbollah support remains central to his nomination.
Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the post of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni, while the president must be a Maronite Christian and the speaker of parliament a Shia.