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Lebanon’s new PM begins bid to form much-delayed cabinet

Lebanon’s new prime minister-designate Najib Mikati holds consultations with political parties that he said “unanimously” agreed on the need to put together a government quickly to rescue the crisis-hit country.

But after nearly a year of extreme drift, an economic crisis described by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst since the 1850s, and continued squabbling among political players, he faces an uphill battle.

Mikati, a billionaire who has already twice served as prime minister, took on the task on Monday, days after fellow veteran politician Saad Hariri threw in the towel.

The last government resigned amid public outrage over a deadly explosion of hundreds of tons of poorly stored fertilizer at Beirut port last August.

The institutional vacuum is holding up a potential financial rescue plan for the country, which defaulted on its debt last year.

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