News / Middle East

Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns Over Deadlocked Cabinet

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a news conference at the Grand Serail, the government headquarters, in Beirut, March 22, 2013.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a news conference at the Grand Serail, the government headquarters, in Beirut, March 22, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Paige Kollock
— The prime minister of Lebanon has resigned following a deadlock in his Cabinet about preparations for a parliamentary election and a dispute over extending the term of a senior security official.
 
Najib Mikati, the Sunni prime minister and billionaire, resigned Friday after his Cabinet failed to approve the formation of a supervisory electoral body and opposed extending the tenure of Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi.  Rifi is a fellow Sunni Muslim who is seen as a critical figure for the Western-backed March 14 coalition.

Imad Salamey, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, says Mikati’s resignation was expected.

"He was fired at from both sides," said Salamey.  "He was fired on from his own Sunni community for feeling that he has betrayed them when he accepted the premiership and shifted rank in alliance with Hezbollah and then kind of covering up politically for Hezbollah’s various activities in Lebanon and in Syria."
 
Salamey says Hezbollah also was dissatisfied with Prime Minister Mikati because the group wanted to replace the security chief, Rifi, whose term is set to expire.

Mikati took office in January 2011 when the Shi’ite political party and militant group Hezbollah brought down the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who was backed by the United States and other Western nations.
 
Prime Minister Mikati was viewed at first as an ally of Hezbollah, despite being a Sunni, but his government has been criticized by all political parties for its inability to reach consensus.

Salamey says politicians should act quickly to break the deadlock.

"I think it is in the interest of all parties, particularly Hezbollah, and the Shi’ites in Lebanon to have a quick solution to the political impasse," said Salamey.  "They need to achieve some kind of reconciliation and political solution with the Lebanese Sunnis."

The political situation in Lebanon has become more fragile as more than 70,000 Syrian refugees have flooded into the country, almost all of whom are Sunni.  

Two people were killed Friday in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, where fighting between the city’s Sunni majority and Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has escalated.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid