Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati is currently given the big favorite for the time being within the framework of the parliamentary consultations which will open on July 26th. As a reminder, appointed on October 22, 2020, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his withdrawal last Friday, 9 months after a similar process while Lebanon has been without a functional government since August 10, 2020.
The appointment of a new government is, however, essential to unlocking economic aid from the international community due to the current crisis in Lebanon. After an economic recession of 29% in 2020, the Land of the Cedars could be hit by a further 9% decline in its GDP in 2021, as the national currency collapsed against the dollar on the black market.
While local authorities were hoping to obtain up to $ 9 billion from the IMF, the international institution reportedly indicated that it will provide only $ 3 to $ 4 billion on condition of immediately launching the necessary reforms and recognizing the magnitude of losses in the financial sector. She stressed that the estimates of the Hassan Diab plan would be accurate and consistent with its analyzes, thus inducing a bail-out of the current shareholders, something that the latter refuse. They had also activated their relays within parliament, causing great tension between the legislative institution and the executive.
Who is Najib Mikati?
Born on November 24, 1955 in Tripoli in northern Lebanon, Najib Mikati was prime minister from April to July 2005 and from June 2011 to February 2014.
He became known to the business world. In 1982, he founded with his brother, the M1 group, mainly based on the telecommunications industry, which will invest in various Arab countries and Africa, but also in the banking sector in Lebanon and more recently. in Burma by buying a local operator with a controversy over this opportunity while this country is the subject of a military coup
His current fortune is estimated at 2.6 billion dollars, allowing it to appear in the Forbes ranking of the richest people in the world.
A politician with an ambiguous course
He will first become Minister of Transport and Public Works in the government of Salim Hoss, on December 4, 1998 and will be one of the rare ministers of this cabinet to be elected deputy in Tripoli in 2000 in the face of the Current of the Future of the first Minister Rafic Hariri whom he will join within the team that the latter will constitute.
Despite strong friendships with the Syrian regime – he is a personal friend of President Bashar al-Assad, he declared himself opposed but still voted in favor of a constitutional amendment granting the President of the Republic Emile Lahoud 3 additional years in office.
He will be appointed Prime Minister in April 2005 in a context made tense by the attack which claimed the life of Rafic Hariri. His government will have to organize the legislative elections of June 2005 with the assurance that he and his ministers will not stand for election. The Fouad Saniora government will succeed him.
He will be reappointed as Prime Minister on January 25, 2011, after the resignation of the Saad Hariri government during the term of President Michel Sleiman. He will resign on March 22, 2013 due to disputes within the government itself, disputes relating to electoral law.
Since then, he has been part of the club of 4 former prime ministers with Tamam Salam, Fouad Saniora and therefore Saad Hariri who regularly denounce the violations, according to them, of the Lebanese constitution in relation to the prerogatives of prime ministers, in a sectarian and confessional context. .
Controversial candidate also the target of popular fury
Najib Mikati is also regularly denounced by the inhabitants of his city, whom they accuse of embezzlement.
In 2019, Judge Ghada Aoun, prosecutor of Mount Lebanon, had also indicted Najib Mikati, his son Maher and his brother Taha as well as the Audi Bank – bank in which he owns a large part of the shares in the form of certificates of deposit with the Deutsch Bank in particular – for having illegally enriched himself within the framework of loans subsidized by the Banque du Liban (BDL) originally intended for people with limited means. For its part, the banking establishment refutes any violation of local legislation.
He will also be involved in embezzlement of European funds, indicated in 2019, the TRTWorld website , alongside former Foreign Commissioner Federica Mogherini and former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. MEPs thus demanded the opening of a parliamentary inquiry into this affair. , something for the moment still pending despite the recognition by the former commissioner that anomalies were noted, during a hearing before the Parliament meeting in Strasbourg.
According to the original investigation, the EU would have paid for the purchase of land and the construction of at least six wastewater treatment plants which are now inactive and have never worked – also part of a scam many more important. Thus, potentially $ 110 million could have been embezzled, notes TRT World.
These revelations come when a conference took place in Brussels, a few weeks ago, where Omar Harfouche was present. The latter accused politicians and associations of Tripoli, of being at the origin of the failure of the establishment of a waste management plant for an amount of 38 million dollars which he had for project of build because of corruption.
He would have accused Najib Mikati of having threatened him, in the context of this case, “to make him disappear” during a telephone conversation.
Faced with these accusations, numerous demonstrations took place outside his home in Tripoli. He himself went so far as to threaten, on January 29, 2021, to use weapons against demonstrators to defend his properties on the spot in the event of loss of control by the Lebanese army.