Incumbent Lebanese PM Keeps Post as Economic Crisis Deepens

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Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati won the support of more than 50 legislators Thursday to keep his post following last month’s parliamentary elections as the country’s multiple crises deepen with no solution in sight, the Associated Press reported. After a day of binding consultations between President Michel Aoun and parliamentary blocs, Mikati was named by 54 lawmakers while his main rival for the post got less than half that figure. Forty-six legislators abstained from naming anyone. The new government’s main mission will be to continue talks with the International Monetary Fund over an economic recovery plan for Lebanon, which is in the grips of the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history. The nearly three-year-old economic meltdown — rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by Lebanon’s ruling class — has been only getting worse with no serious steps taken to start getting the country out of its problems. The economy has been shrinking, power cuts last for much of the day and most people have no access to their savings in banks. “Without a deal with the International Monetary Fund there will be no opportunities for salvation. This (deal) is the main gate for salvation” Mikati said after he was chosen, adding that “we will not let Lebanon collapse.” “We are now facing the challenge of total collapse or gradual salvation,” Mikati said . He said he extends his hand “to everyone without exception. The nation needs our arms.” In April, Lebanon and the IMF reached a tentative agreement for comprehensive economic policies that could eventually pave the way for some relief for the country after Beirut implements wide-ranging reforms. Read more.