Mikati begins protocol visits

Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati began visiting previous premiers according to protocol at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, starting with former PM Rashid al-Solh in Verdun, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Mikati also made a phone call to former PM Salim al-Hoss, who is in Saudi Arabia for medical reasons.

Hoss wished Miqati luck in his mission, according to a statement issued by the former’s press office.

Later, Mikati visited Rabieh and met with Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun, who is also a former PM, the NNA reported.

Mikati, backed by March 8, was appointed to the premiership on Tuesday, giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country to the anger of many Sunnis.

Hezbollah brought down outgoing premier Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 after a long-running dispute over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s probe of the 2005 murder of his father, ex-premier Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah had been pressing Hariri to disavow the tribunal, which it worries will implicate some of its members.