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Lebanon PM names new government after months of limbo

By the CNN Wire Staff
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is a Sunni political independent.
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is a Sunni political independent.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Local media reports suggest Najib Mikati may not have the support of Hezbollah
  • Mikati promises a government "for all Lebanese"
  • Hezbollah brought down the last government, led by Saad Hariri, in January
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Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has formed a new government that he hopes will receive the backing of parliament, he announced Monday, five months after the country's last government fell.

Mikati promised a "government of all of Lebanon and will labor for all Lebanese. There will be no divisions or distinctions between those who formed the government or those who opposed it."

The government of the last prime minister, Saad Hariri, was brought down in January by the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

Mikati is a Sunni political independent who was backed by Hezbollah and its allies.

But local media reports Monday suggested that Hezbollah and the Amal movement of parliament speaker Nabih Berri did not support the Cabinet lineup.

Mikati declined to answer a question about the support of Hezbollah and Amal in a televised appearance announcing the government.

"Without the blessing of Speaker Berri, this government wouldn't be formed," he said.

Berri left a meeting with Mikati and President Michel Sleiman earlier in the day, while the president and prime minister-designate continued to talk, Lebanon's official NNA news agency reported.

Mikati served as caretaker prime minister once before after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in January that Hezbollah nominated Mikati to form "a national salvation government in which parties from across the political spectrum would take part."

But he disputed the view that Mikati is a Hezbollah figure.

"He is a consensus candidate. We will not lead the new government and it will not be the government of Hezbollah," Nasrallah said.

CNN's Saad Abedine, Salma Abdelaziz, Caroline Faraj and Rima Maktabi contributed to this report.

 
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