Najib Miqati to be Lebanese premier

Lebanon's President Emile Lahud appointed moderate pro-Syrian ex-minister Najib Miqati as prime minister-designate on Friday, an official statement has said.

    Emile Lahud (L) had to replace Umar Karami (R) who resigned

    Miqati had won the nomination of the country's 128-member

    Earlier, the Lebanese opposition had proposed Miqati as its candidate for prime minister in talks with the president.

    "We have taken the decision to name Najib Miqati," said MP Walid Ido, from the parliamentary bloc of slain former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

    "We will now end our meetings, and a delegation from the opposition will head to the presidential palace to name Miqati at the consultations," the opposition MP said.

    Lahud started consultations early on Friday to find a new premier after 46 days of failed attempts, amid pressure from the opposition and the international community not to delay crucial elections.

    Miqati was recommended on Thursday by the outgoing interior minister Sulayman Franjiyah.

    No objection

    Speaking to Aljazeera, a leading member at the Free National Movement (FNM), Antwan Nasir Allah said: "None of the members of the Free National Movement has been represented in the Lebanese parliament as we boycotted the parliamentary election when Lebanon was occupied by Syria.


    "We will now end our meetings, and a delegation from the opposition will head to the presidential palace to name Miqati at the consultations"

    Walid Ido,
    Lebanese MP

    "Therefore, the movement can not participate in the consultations," he said.


    The FNM member said it had no objection to the nomination of Miqati as the opposition candidate for the post of prime minister. 


    Nasir Allah said it was important to hold a parliamentary election as soon as possible to get out of the current impasse.

    Lebanese former president Amin Jumail told Aljazeera Miqati had pledged to hold an election when it was constitutionally due.


    Jumail said Miqati's plans to hold elections would be known after consultations with him. He also denied any differences within the opposition in nominating Miqati.


    Earlier, Druze leader and key opposition figure Walid Jumblatt urged fellow opposition parties to join a government so general elections planned for May could take place.

    Jumblatt says an opposition
    figure must 

    join the government

    "The opposition must name someone to join the government. We must play the game and someone from the opposition must join the government," Jumblatt said ahead of a meeting with French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier.

    "The aim right now is the elections."

    The vote, which must take place before the end of May, has been jeopardised by the resignation earlier this week of the country's prime minister-designate Umar Karami.

    Karami gave up on efforts to form a new government saying he had reached a dead end after five weeks of consultations.

    Lebanon has been without a government since 28 February, two weeks after the assassination of al-Hariri plunged the country into its worst political crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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