Najib Mikati assumed the new government in Lebanon following more than a year of negotiations and crisis. The country has delved into a full-scale crisis with more than three fourth of population delving in poverty and frustration.
Following a year of battling over ministerial positions that has deepened a terrible economic meltdown, Lebanese officials consented on forming a new government. The Friday decision puts businessman Najib Mikati as the new prime minister, paving the way for a restart of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
High-rank officials in Lebanon claimed that the achievement came after a series of talks with multiple parties, including France. Paris, in effect, has spearheaded attempts to convince Lebanon’s feuding factions to settle on a government. The country in in urgent need for basic overhaul in regulations and implementations following the devastating blast at Beirut port.
France had made no early statement on the turn-point decisions in Beirut. Diplomatic officials of France, though, insist in representing an active role of France in the new developments. France prefers to tiptoe around the move due to some skepticism about Najib Mikati’s ability to implement the required changes.
Lebanon crisis, which has posed the largest challenge to Lebanon’s civil welfare since the civil war five decades ago. It reached a critical threshold in August when lack of petrol almost halted the social life, resulting in a slew of security events. Iran was one of the first countries to intervene by deploying numerous fuel tankers to Lebanon to contain the threat.
Lebanon’s costly subsidy program on fuel, medication, and wheat to keep them at reasonable rates, is one of the most pressing economic challenges. As foreign reserves shrink, Lebanese central bank has recommended a complete halt to the program. Meanwhile, supply chain crisis intensify, while stockpiling and trafficking are widespread.
Najib Mikati; A Government with No Hands
In his first speech after premiership, Najib Mikati vowed to attract assistance from the Arab world. This is while many of Arab countries have shied away from Beirut due to the sheer political reasons.
The new government, like its predecessor, is made up of members with technical knowledge who are not well-known politicians but have been appointed by major parties. Diab administration was unable to implement any of the significant reforms as international funders demanded.
Lebanon will experience to key elections in one year. The mayoral and presidential elections are both in 2022. Nevertheless, the main focus is on country’s legislative elections on the same year. The global society has called for holding parliamentary elections on time. The previous term of Parliament had been extended from 2013 to 2018.
The cabinet of Najib Mikati, according to political commentators, will execute some slight surface changes. The move will aim at ensuring support for Lebanese main ethnic parties and suppressing political public dissatisfactions.
“The newly formed government is expected to, first and foremost, soften the blow out of concern by sectarian ruling elite – the usual suspects,” An analyst says. The ruling political groups has lost face following deep economic crisis resulting from political rivalry of elite classes.
Talks between Najib Mikati, Michel Aoun, and political figures over religious and political distribution of ministries cabinet ministers is not unprecedented. The process, however, is an indication of Lebanon’s tumult in politics and political leadership.
This type of politics in concerning for various Lebanese opposition factions. Besides, the public community is skeptical about the current system’s ability to provide genuine change and economic relief.
With little trust by society, and less assistance from Arab and Western world, Najib Mikati has a hard way to go.