BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Lebanese PM announces resignation of his government

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a press conference at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, March 22, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced Friday the resignation of his government after a fallout among ministers and called for National Dialogue aimed at forming a new Cabinet to rescue Lebanon.

“Today, I announce the resignation of the Cabinet in the hope it will constitute the only gateway and [call on] the central political blocs in Lebanon to fulfill their duties,” Mikati said at a news conference at the Grand Serail.

His resignation came hours after the country’s president suspended Cabinet sessions for failing to pass a decision on the formation of an elections committee to supervise the upcoming parliamentary polls. 

At the news conference, Mikati said the country’s growing political crisis could only be resolved through the resumption of National Dialogue. 

“My conscience compels me to take this decision to pave the way for the return to [National] Dialogue under the auspices of the president, to which there is no alternative,” he said, adding that this would pave the way for the formation of “salvation Cabinet that includes all political forces.”

The prime minister said he had contemplated resignation twice during his tenure: once over the divisive issue of funding Lebanon’s share toward the Special Tribunal for Lebanon; the other following the assassination of Information Branch chief Brig. Gen. Wissam Hasan. 

Mikati formed his 30-member cabinet on June 13, 2011, months after ministers loyal to the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition forced the collapse of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government.

The Cabinet, in which the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition enjoys a majority of seats, was formed in the wake of the uprising in Syria, a subject that has divided the country and raised the specter of a spillover from the now two-year-old conflict.

Mikati’s resignation comes on the second day of intensive clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in his home city of Tripoli, north Lebanon.  

He is expected Saturday to hand in his resignation to President Michel Sleiman, who will ask him to continue in the capacity as caretaker and then call for the launch of parliamentary consultations for the naming of a new prime minister designate. 

 

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