Hezbollah-backed Mikati appointed Lebanon PM
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman issued a decree yesterday appointing Hezbollah-backed candidate Najib Mikati as prime minister-designate pending the formation of a new government.
"The president informed me of the outcome of his consultations with parliamentarians, which have resulted in my appointment as prime minister," MP Mikati told reporters outside Sleiman's office.
"I will cooperate fully with all Lebanese to form a new government that protects their unity and sovereignty," he added.
Mikati, 55, received the backing of 68 of parliament's 128 MPs, who had been meeting with Sleiman since Monday after Hezbollah brought down the unity government of Saudi- and Western-backed Saad Hariri on January 12.
The remaining 60 MPs backed Hariri for another term.
Outgoing Lebanese premier Saad Hariri denounced on Tuesday violent incidents that erupted during protests by his supporters against the appointment of a Hezbollah-backed candidate to head the new government.
Demonstrators in Sunni Muslim stronghold Tripoli attacked and burned a car of Al-Jazeera television, and ransacked the office of a rival MP.
"But it is also my duty to express my total rejection of all forms of rioting and acts of law-breakers who have accompanied these demonstrations.
"I deeply regret the attack against the vehicle of Al-Jazeera," he said.
Mikati's appointment has sparked widespread anger within the Sunni community. They view it as a bid by the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah to sideline Hariri, the most popular Sunni leader, and even take control of the government.
According to Lebanon's complex power-sharing system, the premier must be a Sunni Muslim.