Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lebanese government resigns

Mikati (Reuters)
Lebanon’s president Michel Sleiman on Saturday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati who stepped down following disputes with political allies the preceding night.
Mikati officially tendered his resignation Saturday morning, saying that his decision was “personal” one, adding that he had consulted no one prior to the announcement. The now acting premier, whose appointment in June 2011 by a Hezbollah-led government triggered days of violent protests across Lebanon by opposition supporters, urged Lebanese to engage in dialogue for the creation a unity government.
 Mikati’s resignation follows months of political turmoil and calls by opposition leader for him to step down. It essentially dissolves the current government. Sleiman has asked the premier to serve a caretaker role until that can be achieved. Mikati announced his resignation already Friday night after Sleiman suspended a cabinet session following rifts over the creation of a body to oversee upcoming parliamentary elections, and the renewal of police chief’s tenure. Some members of Mikati’s 8 March coalition reportedly refused to discuss the renewal of the head of the country’s Internal Security Forces, Ashraf Rifi, who is distrusted by many in the government. Mikati had tried to resign twice before, once in 2011 over disputes to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and again in October 2012 after the assassination of intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan which prompted several days of violent, anti-government demonstrations.

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