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Najib Mikati

Najib Mikati
نجيب ميقاتي
Mikati in 2024
45th Prime Minister of Lebanon
Assumed office
10 September 2021
PresidentMichel Aoun
until October 2022
Himself (acting)
since October 2022
DeputySaadeh Al Shami
Preceded byHassan Diab
In office
13 June 2011 – 15 February 2014
PresidentMichel Suleiman
DeputySamir Mouqbel
Preceded bySaad Hariri
Succeeded byTammam Salam
In office
19 April 2005 – 19 July 2005
PresidentÉmile Lahoud
DeputyElias Murr
Preceded byOmar Karami
Succeeded byFouad Siniora
Minister of Public Works and Transport
In office
6 December 1998 – 26 October 2004
PresidentÉmile Lahoud
Prime Minister
Personal details
Born (1955-11-24) 24 November 1955 (age 68)
Tripoli, Lebanon
Political partyAzm Movement
Other political
affiliations
Independent
SpouseMay Mikati
Relatives
Alma materAmerican University of Beirut
Websitewww.najib-mikati.net

Najib Azmi Mikati (Arabic: نجيب عزمي ميقاتي; born 24 November 1955) is a Lebanese politician and businessman who has served as the prime minister of Lebanon since September 2021. He also leads a cabinet that has assumed the powers of the president of Lebanon since the term of president Michel Aoun ended in October 2022.[1] He has previously served as prime minister from April to July 2005, and from June 2011 to February 2014. He also served as Minister of Public Works and Transport from December 1998 to 2003.

In 2005, he headed an interim government that supervised the 2005 general election following the withdrawal of Syrian troops. In 2011, he formed his second government, backed by the March 8 alliance,[2] before he resigned in 2013. He was a member of parliament for Tripoli from 2000 to 2005 and was re-elected in 2009 and 2018. In July 2021, he was designated as prime minister.[3]

According to Forbes, he is the richest man in Lebanon, with a net worth of $2.8 billion in 2023.[4] In 2019, state prosecutor Ghada Aoun accuse Mikati of corruption and pressed charges against Mikati over illegitimate enrichment via subsidised housing loans.[5][6][7]The charges were dismissed on 3 February 2022 by judge Charbel Bou Samra.[8] In 2023, an investigation in Monaco cleared him of any wrongdoing due to "insufficient evidence,"[9] and he has said that the accusations against him were politically motivated.[10] Mikati has been linked to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, as he made his fortune by operating several telecom projects in Syria and Lebanon in the early 2000s.[11][12]

Early life and education

Mikati was born on 24 November 1955[13] and hails from a prominent Sunni Muslim family based in Tripoli.[14] He graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1980 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.[15] He also attended a summer school program held at Harvard and the French business school INSEAD.[13]

Business career and wealth

Mikati at the World Economic Forum, 2013

In 1979, Najib's older brother Taha Mikati founded Arabian Construction Company (ACC), headquartered in Abu Dhabi, and which became one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.[16] Najib 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.[17] Through Investcom Holding the brothers together own the news website Lebanon24 and 4% of the shares in LBCI.[18]

He is a major shareholder in the South African telecommunications operator MTN, owner of the high-end fashion brand Façonnable, and an investor in transport, gas, and oil. He also has investments in real estate, notably in London, New York, and Monaco.[19] He also owns

He owns the 79-metre motor yacht Mimtee.[20][21]

Political career

After being appointed Minister of Public Works and Transport on 4 December 1998, Mikati was elected to the Lebanese parliament from his hometown of Tripoli in 2000, outpolling Omar Karami, who was elected from the same multimember constituency. As a parliamentarian, Mikati retained his cabinet position and developed a reputation as a moderately pro-Syrian politician with a normal relationship with Syrian president Bashar Assad. Later Mikati was made transportation minister and became an ally of then Lebanese president Emile Lahoud, supporting the extension of his term in 2004.[22]

He is considered a compromise figure, not being close to any particular political bloc. He is one of the leaders of the Sunni community. He himself denies any closeness to Hezbollah and describes himself as a liberal, emphasizing his background in business to reassure the United States.[23]

First premiership

Mikati 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.[24] During negotiations to form a government, Mikati emerged as a consensus candidate.[25] Mikati acted as a caretaker premier.[26] 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. In the general elections of 2009, Mikati won again a seat from Tripoli, being a member of the centrist groups in the Lebanese parliament.[27]

Second premiership

Mikati's meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2012) and John Kerry (2014).

On 24 January 2011, the March 8 alliance, specifically Hezbollah, Michel Aoun, and Walid Jumblatt, nominated Mikati to become prime minister.[28] Mikati succeeded Saad Hariri, whose government was brought down by the resignation of ten of the alliance's ministers and one presidential appointee on 12 January 2011, resulting from the collapse of the Saudi-Syrian initiative to reach a compromise on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. On 25 January, 68 members of the parliament of Lebanon voted in favor of nominating Mikati for Prime Minister. President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman then invited Mikati to head a new Lebanese government. The process of government formation lasted for five months due to serious disagreements between leaders.[29] On 13 June 2011, Mikati became the Prime Minister of Lebanon for the second time.[citation needed]

On 13 June, Mikati announced the formation of the government and stated that it would begin by "liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy".[30][31] On 22 March 2013, Mikati resigned from office, due to "intensifying pressure between the pro-Assad and anti-Assad camps"[32] and the Lebanese president accepted his resignation on 23 March 2013.[33] On 6 April 2013, Tammam Salam was tasked to form a new government.[34]

Third premiership

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab in August 2020, both Mustafa Adib and Saad Hariri failed to form a government. Mikati was designated to fill the role on 26 July 2021.[5] He received 72 votes out of 128 MPs.[35] Mikati declared that he wants a purely technocratic government, without representatives of political parties, in order to carry out the economic reforms expected by Lebanon's donors.[36] His appointment was received coldly by the population. As the country sinks into a serious economic, social and humanitarian crisis, he is seen as a representative of the traditional political class and economic elites. According to the daily L'Orient-Le Jour, “if being a billionaire has long been an asset in establishing someone on the Lebanese political scene, it is now perceived by part of the population as a symbol of the plundering of public resources by the political class.[37] On September 10, 2021, Mikati was able to form a government of 24 members after long negotiations with President Aoun, and the various political parties.[38] When he took office, Lebanon was in the grip of a very serious economic crisis: collapse of the national currency, galloping inflation (the cost of food had jumped by 700% in the previous two years), massive layoffs, a poverty rate of 78% according to the UN, frequent power cuts, fuel shortages, etc. He announced that he wanted to call on the solidarity of the Arab world to try to get the country out of the crisis it was going through and to negotiate with the IMF.[39]

In February 2022, Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Lebanese senior Christian cleric and head of the Maronite Church, called on the Mikati government to "agree with the IMF on a plan that saves Lebanon from collapse".[40]

He was again named prime minister designate on 23 June 2022 with 54 votes against Nawaf Salam's 28 to form a new cabinet until the remainder of President Michel Aoun's term.[41] However, Mikati and Aoun failed to agree on a new government numerous times. President Michel Aoun signed the government's resignation decree,[42][43] a day before his six-year term officially ended, and Najib Mikati's government remained in office in a caretaker capacity, however Aoun's move was deemed as of no effect by the Lebanese Parliament in a session held on November 3 since the government was already considered resigned following parliamentary elections on May 15.[44]

Corruption allegations

In 2019, state prosecutor Ghada Aoun pressed charges against Mikati over illegitimate enrichment via subsidised housing loans.[5][6][7]The charges were dismissed on 3 February 2022 by judge Charbel Bou Samra[8]

In October 2021, Mikati was named in the Pandora Papers leak. He denied any wrongdoing.[45][46]

On April 2024, French anti-corruption NGOs, Sherpa and the Collective of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices, filed a complaint against Najib Miktai and his family. Mikati denied any wrongdoing and called it a media campaign intended to "insult him and his family members".[47]

References

  1. ^ Houssari, Najia (31 October 2022). "Mikati's makeshift Lebanese government to assume presidential powers". Arab News. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Mikati: new government will restore trust in economy". The Daily Star. 28 May 2011. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. ^ Hubbard, Ben (26 July 2021). "Lebanon Turns to Billionaire Tycoon to Form Next Government". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Mughal, Waqar. "Najib Mikati - World,s Richest Arabs 2023". Forbes Lists. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b c Chehayeb, Kareem. "Lebanese Sunni leaders endorse Mikati to form new government". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Lebanon's former PM denies corruption charges". Deutsche Welle. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Prosecutor presses charges against Lebanon ex-PM: state media". France 24. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b https://www.sawtbeirut.com/?p=516930
  9. ^ Jalabi, Raya (25 August 2023). "Lebanon prime minister cleared after Monaco corruption probe". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 6 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Alleged money laundering: Monaco investigation into Mikati closed, his office says". L'Orient Today. 25 August 2023.
  11. ^ Nour, Ali (5 August 2021). "Meet the Mikati Brothers: The Myanmar Communications Kings". Daraj. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  12. ^ Dehghanpisheh, Babak (15 August 2011). "Q&A With Lebanon's P.M. Najib Mikati". Newsweek. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  13. ^ a b "Profile: Najib Mikati". BBC. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  14. ^ William Harris (2012). Lebanon: A History, 600-2011. Oxford University Press. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-19-518111-1.
  15. ^ "Lebanese Power-brokers: The Most Powerful Families of Lebanon". Marcopolis. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Taha Mikati", Bloomberg. Accessed 17 November 2015.
  17. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Mikati Family". lebanon.mom-gmr.org. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  19. ^ "Najib Mikati, un milliardaire honni par la rue pour diriger un Liban en crise". 26 July 2021.
  20. ^ "CRN's 79m motor yacht Mimtee in Monaco". superyachttimes.com. 6 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Najib Mikati – Owner of the Yacht Mimtee". superyachtfan.com.
  22. ^ Fakih, Mohalhel (2–8 September 2004). "Pulling at Lebanon's strings". Al Ahram Weekly. 706. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Liban : Le Premier ministre désigné se défend d'être l'homme du Hezbollah". 25 January 2011.
  24. ^ Assir, Serene (21–27 April 2005). "Divided we fall". Al Ahram Weekly. 739. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  25. ^ Hosri, Danielle (16 April 2005). "Opposition-Backed Moderate Mikati Named Lebanese PM". Arab News. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  26. ^ Alaa Shahine; Massoud A. Derhally (13 June 2011). "Lebanon's Mikati Forms New Cabinet With Hezbollah Support". Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  27. ^ "Elections in Lebanon" (PDF). IFES. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  28. ^ William Harris (19 July 2012). Lebanon: A History, 600-2011. Oxford University Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-19-518111-1. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  29. ^ Salem, Paul (15 June 2011). "Lebanon's New Government: Outlines and Challenges". Carnegie Middle East. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  30. ^ "Lebanon PM: New government to liberate land under occupation of 'Israeli enemy'." Reuters, 13 June 2011.
  31. ^ Simon, Kevin (2012). "Hezbollah: Terror in Context". Olin College of Engineering. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  32. ^ Salem, Paul (23 March 2013). "Lebanon Imperiled as Prime Minister Resigns Under Duress". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  33. ^ El Basha, Thomas (22 March 2013). "Lebanese PM announces resignation of his government". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  34. ^ "Lebanon names Tammam Salam as new prime minister". BBC. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Lebanese billionaire Najib Mikati picked as new PM-designate". France 24. 26 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  36. ^ "Mikati pour un gouvernement purement technocrate". L'Orient-Le Jour (in French). 27 July 2021.
  37. ^ "Le retour de Mikati fait grincer des dents". L'Orient-Le Jour (in French). 27 July 2021.
  38. ^ "Après 13 mois, un gouvernement enfin formé au Liban". Libnanews (in French). 10 September 2021.
  39. ^ "Liban: le premier ministre Najib Mikati annonce la composition du nouveau gouvernement". TV 5 Monde (in French). 10 September 2021.
  40. ^ "Lebanese Maronite Patriarch urges IMF deal, elections on time". Reuters. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  41. ^ "Mikati named PM-designate with 54 votes as Salam gets 25". Naharnet. 23 June 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  42. ^ "President Aoun signs decree declaring Mikati's government as resigned". MTV Lebanon. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  43. ^ "Aoun leaves Lebanon presidential palace in style as term ends". Arab News. 29 October 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  44. ^ "Lebanon: Parliament Asks Govt to Continue in Caretaker Capacity amid Presidential Vacuum". Asharq Al-Awsat. 4 November 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  45. ^ "Governments launch investigations after Pandora Papers show how elite shield riches". The Washington Post. 4 October 2021.
  46. ^ "Pandora Papers: Lebanon PM Mikati says family wealth legal". Aljazeera. 5 October 2021.
  47. ^ "Lebanon's billionaire PM Mikati denies corruption claims – DW – 04/04/2024". dw.com. Retrieved 5 April 2024.

Sources

Political offices Preceded byOmar Karami Prime Minister of Lebanon 2005 Succeeded byFouad Siniora Preceded bySaad Hariri Prime Minister of Lebanon 2011–2014 Succeeded byTammam Salam Preceded byHassan Diab Prime Minister of Lebanon 2021–present Incumbent
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Najib Mikati
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