Photo: Arabian Business via ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

Najib Mikati to head next government

Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati has been appointed by Parliament to head the next government, after garnering support from former Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

Mikati secured the majority of votes from all major political parties except the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces.

Hariri stepped down on July 16 following his appointment in October 2020, failing to agree on a cabinet with President Michel Aoun across nine months.

Mikati last headed a government between 2011 and 2014. In October 2019, amidst the beginning of the popular uprising, a state prosecutor pressed charges against Mikati over alleged corruption.

Mikati denied the allegations, stating that the charges were punishment for his refusal to support the election of President Michel Aoun in 2016 and in light of the ongoing protests demanding for the government’s resignation at the time.

Mikati is a prominent member of Lebanon’s multimillion dollar ruling class, who have been accused of making money off of the backs of the Lebanese public. As a telecoms mogul, Mikati has multiple interests in West Africa and across the globe alongside his brother Taha.

A France 24 article in 2019 estimated Mikati’s wealth to be around $2.5 billion, making him one of the world’s top 1,000 richest people, according to Forbes.

Mikati was elected in the 2018 parliamentary elections in Tripoli, northern Lebanon. Tripoli is known to be Lebanon’s poorest city, forcing many to protest facing the former premier’s residence during the popular uprising to protest the deteriorating living conditions in light of Mikati’s opulent wealth.

That same year, Mikati and his family members were accused of wrongly receiving millions of dollars in subsidized housing loans set to help low and middle-income members of the Lebanese public buy homes.