Billionaire lawmaker may be Lebanon's next premier

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah

BEIRUT, Jan 24 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP) – A billionaire businessman with close relations to Syria is emerging as a candidate favored by Hezbollah to head Lebanon’s next government.

Lawmaker Nagib Mikati, who served briefly as premier in 2005, says he is seeking the post as a candidate of “moderation and accord.”

Hezbollah brought down the unity government headed by Saad Hariri on Jan. 12 because of differences over a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Mikati made his announcement hours before formal talks between Lebanon’s president and lawmakers were to begin Monday to pick a new prime minister.

A moderate politician, Mikati enjoys good relations with Syria as well as the pro-Western Hariri, who is seeking to keep the post.

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