Najib Mikati

Najib Azmi Mikati is a Lebanese billionaire who has served as the Prime Minister of Lebanon since 13 June 2011.

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Najib Azmi Mikati (Arabic: نجيب ميقاتي‎) (born 24 November 1955) is a Lebanese billionaire who has served as the Prime Minister of Lebanon since 13 June 2011. From April 2005 to July 2005 he was Prime Minister of Lebanon in a caretaker government. On 25 January 2011, Mikati was nominated to serve as Prime Minister by a majority of the votes in the parliamentary consultations following the 12 January fall of the Lebanese government of November 2009. The government was formed in June, after many delays.[1]

Early life and education

Mikati was born into Sunni Muslim family in Tripoli on 24 November 1955.[2] He graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1980 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. He also attended a summer school program held at Harvard and the prestigious French business school INSEAD.[2]

Business career

Mikati co-founded the telecommunications company Investcom with his brother Taha in 1982. He sold the company in June 2006 to South Africa's MTN Group for $5.5 billion.[3] In March 2012, Forbes estimated his wealth at $3 billion, making him the richest man living in Lebanon.[4]

Political career

After being appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of Public Works and Transport on 4 December 1998, he was elected to the National Assembly from his hometown of Tripoli in 2000, outpolling Omar Karami, who was elected from the same multimember constituency. As a parliamentarian, he retained his cabinet position and developed a reputation as a moderately pro-Syrian politician with a normal relationship with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He was a perennial candidate for Lebanon's Prime Ministry since 2000, finally taking the office upon the resignation of Omar Karami on 13 April 2005. He is the leader of the solidarity bloc which has had two seats in the Lebanese parliament since 2004. He also created the centrist movement and ideology in Lebanon and the Arab world, for which he has held many international conferences in Lebanon.

First prime ministership

In the negotiations to form a government, Mikati emerged as a consensus candidate.[5] Despite his closeness to Syria, his willingness to compromise and his promise to dismiss the chiefs of the security forces, whom many Lebanese suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on 14 February 2005, won him the support of the anti-Syrian opposition, against the strongly pro-Syrian Minister of Defence, Abdul Rahim Mourad. "We will be the symbol of moderation and national unity," Mikati declared after being sworn in at the Presidential palace in Baabda.

He was appointed Prime Minister by President Émile Lahoud on 15 April 2005, to succeed Omar Karami, who gave up after seven weeks of frustrated efforts to form a consensus government and resigned. He held office for three months, handing over on 19 July 2005 to Fouad Siniora.

Resignation

Mikati's immediate priority was to prepare Lebanon for crucial parliamentary elections, which were scheduled to be held by 31 May 2005. Constitutionally, a government must be in place to call for an election, and opposition politicians had accused President Lahoud and former Prime Minister Karami of stalling the formation of a government in order to thwart the elections, which anti-Syrian parties believed they could win. Mikati's government succeeded in organizing the election, that saw the opposition, that was now known as the 14 March Movement, win 72 out of the 128 seats in the National Assembly.

Second prime ministership

On 24 January 2011, the March 8 alliance nominated Mikati to become prime minister and succeed Saad Hariri, whose government was brought down by the resignation of 10 of the alliance's ministers, and one presidential appointee, on 12 January 2011. It was a result of the collapse of the Saudi-Syrian initiative to reach a compromise on the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. On 25 January, the parliament of Lebanon voted on his nomination with 68 MP's nominating Mikati for Prime Minister. President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman then nominated Mikati to head a new Lebanese government. On 13 June 2011, Mikati became the Prime Minister of Lebanon for the second time and is in the process of forming a new thirty member cabinet.[citation needed]

On 13 June, Mikati announced the formation of the government and said that they would go to work "liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy".[6][7]