Lebanon's Mikati hopes to form government soon


Lebanon's new Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mikati, talks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said on Wednesday that he hoped to form a government shortly after securing the approval of President Michel Aoun for most of his nominees.

Mikati, a businessman, is the third potential prime minister to be nominated since Hassan Diab's government resigned after an explosion in Beirut's port area on Aug. 4 last year that killed more than 200 people and flattened large areas of the city. He spoke to reporters after meeting Aoun.

Diab's government has stayed on in a caretaker capacity, but Lebanon's currency has collapsed, jobs have vanished and banks have frozen accounts in the country's worst crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

"I gave my proposals, President Aoun approved most of them and he made some remarks which are acceptable; God willing ... we will be able to form a government soon," Mikati said.

Mikati has been prime minister twice before and, unlike many Lebanese leaders, does not represent a political bloc or hail from a dynasty.

Like the previous nominee, Saad al-Hariri, he must navigate the sectarian, power-sharing structure and secure agreement on a cabinet equipped to address the financial meltdown in Lebanon, one of the world's most heavily indebted states.

(Reporting Leila Bassam, writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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