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Prime Minister Resigns, as Lebanon Remains a “Sinking Ship”

@Brigitte_khair: It is like the boy who cried ‘Wolf', #Mikati threatening to resign. Again. When he eventually does, no one will notice.

When rumors of his resignation started, some thought Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was playing a game of chicken. After all, he had already threatened to resign twice before.

And then he resigned on Friday, March 22, 2013:

@Najib_Mikati:قدمت استقالتي الخطية لرئيس الجمهورية والمهم ان يبدأالحوار وأن تنشأ حكومة إنقاذية في هذه المرحلة الصعبة و أشكر الله أني خرجت كما دخلت صادقاً

@Najib_Mikati: I have presented my resignation to the President of the Republic. What's important is to start a dialogue and to establish a rescue government in this difficult phase. I thank God I have left this office as I came, with integrity

The resignation came after the cabinet didn’t approve the formation of a supervisory electoral body and did not vote on the extension of the tenure of Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi.

Blogger Qifa Nabki posted a live translation of the televised resignation speech:

8:35PM: I’ve committed myself to the country that I love.

8:36: It is necessary to raise the salaries of the civil society workers. It is necessary to hold elections on time. We need an electoral law that renews Lebanon’s message to the world (as a place of coexistence).

8:38: The President has demanded dialogue on all of these issues. We need a government that can save the country from the problems it faces.

8:39: The problems are great. I am satisfied with my efforts.

8:40: I have kept all channels of communication open. The nation comes first.

8:40: I threatened to resign twice before: Once over the funding of the Special Tribunal, and once when Wissam al-Hassan was murdered. Today the conditions are worse, economically, politically, etc.

8:41: Today, I announce my resignation, hoping this represents a way out of the problems that the country faces. I want to thank all of the political forces that cooperated with me over the past period.

8:42: Despite the worries and tension that hang over us, we are capable of overcoming them. I remain by your side. May God secure this nation.

Sadly, there is nothing exceptional in how Mikati’s mandate ended as journalist Habib Battah points out:

@Habib_B: Lebanon had 6 prime ministers over last 9 yrs. That's a new PM every 1.5 yrs. Statistically @Najib_Mikati‘s resignation is right on track.

As the country faces a political vacuum, the current context is still an unresolved crisis: ongoing violent clashes in Tripoli, north of the country, complete uncertainty over the next elections, civil servants on strike, tension over Syria…

Lebanon Spring blogger notes the resignation was inevitable in as the country “resembles a sinking ship”:

The situation in government and Lebanon resembles a sinking ship. Security situation is near chaos, sectarian tensions are highest, military clashes became the norm in his hometown Tripoli, bickering with Aoun and Hezbollah continuously existed, open borders with Syria in both directions are exploited by all parties without any control, a Foreign Minister acts independently without instructions, no agreement on elections law is looming with a serious potential of its postponement and etc. All these matters would push any prime minister to go. Didn’t Mikati also confidently say the Orthodox Law proposal won’t pass? May be we know now how. With such a government of failure, this is the best he can do.

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