Najib Mikati’s name topped Google search engines and communication sites in Lebanon, after Lebanese President Michel Aoun commissioned him, today, Monday, to form a new government after Saad Hariri refused to form a government.
Parliament approved, by 72 votes, to assign Mikati, a politician and a wealthy businessman, to head and form the government, once again, after Saad Hariri and Mustafa Adib were unable to do so.
Najib Mikati.. I don’t have a magic wand
In his first statements, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, 65, said, “He does not have a magic wand.”
He added that he is counting on concerted efforts to succeed in the task of “extinguishing the expanding fire in Lebanon,” as he described it.
The appointment of Mikati, the wealthy communications tycoon, came after nine months of political stalemate between President Aoun and the leader of the Future Movement, Saad Hariri.
The former Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, resigned from the position last August, and has since been heading a caretaker government at a time when Lebanon is witnessing a continuous deterioration of living and economic conditions.
The caretaker Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, called on the Lebanese to be patient with the injustice they suffer from or will affect them from any decision taken by any party and increase their suffering.
Who is Najib Mikati?
It is noteworthy that Mikati was born on November 24, 1955 and completed his studies at the American University of Beirut and continued his postgraduate studies in France and Harvard University in the United States.
He started building his telecommunications company in the midst of the civil war in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990.
He sold his stake in his telecom company to MTN Telecom Group in South Africa for $5.5 billion in 2006.
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In 2007 he founded the M1 Group, which owns and manages diversified investments. The most recent of which was its purchase, this month, of the operating stake of the Norwegian telecom operator Telenor in Myanmar for $105 million.
He assumed the position of Prime Minister temporarily in April of 2005 after the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon.
He held this position for a period of three months to oversee the parliamentary elections, which were won by the coalition led by the Future Movement led by Hariri.
He was appointed to the same position – as prime minister – again in June 2011 and resigned in May 2013 amid deep polarization among the country’s political camps due to the conflict in Syria.
Infighting in his government led to a complex political stalemate. He remained in the position temporarily until February 2014.
Najib Mikati also held the portfolio of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in three successive governments between 1998 and 2004.
He was also elected in 2000 as a representative of the city of Tripoli until 2005, then was re-elected in 2009 as a representative of the Tripoli constituency.
Mikati is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, and the advisory board of Harris College at the University of Chicago, in addition to his membership on the advisory board of the International Crisis Group, and the presidency of the Middle East Foresight Forum.
The richest man in Lebanon
Mikati is considered the richest man in Lebanon and one of the richest Prime Time Zone in the Middle East, with a fortune of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
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In 2019, Lebanon’s public prosecutor indicted Mikati, a Sunni Muslim politician who hails from Tripoli, one of northern Lebanon’s poorest cities, with illicit enrichment — a charge Mikati denies.
Unlike many Lebanese politicians, Mikati does not come from a long-established family that has influence in Lebanese politics, which makes him a consensual candidate par excellence.
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