Lebanese tycoon set to be next PM


BEIRUT – Billionaire businessman Najib Mikati was poised on Monday to become Lebanon’s next prime minister after winning the backing of the powerful Hezbollah, in a move denounced by outgoing premier Saad Hariri.
“It’s Mikati for sure,” influential Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who last week became allied with Hezbollah, told AFP as consultations on appointing a new premier got underway at the presidential palace.
Jumblatt said the Shiite militant party backed by Syria and Iran had secured a majority number of votes in the 128-member parliament to impose Mikati as its candidate to head the next government.
The 55-year-old Mikati, who served briefly as premier in 2005 and is close to Syria, said after meeting with President Michel Sleiman that should he be appointed he would act as a consensual candidate representing all parties.
“I extend my hand to everyone,” he told reporters. “If I am appointed, my actions will speak for themselves.”