Lebanon PM Najib Mikati resigns

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the third Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit in Riyadh. Mikati resigned on March 22, 2013.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned on Friday and called for the formation of a national unity government. 

Mikati's decision, which automatically brings down the government, came after disagreements on two internal issues: the formation of an elections supervisory body and the extension of a security chief's term in office.

"I announce the resignation of the government, hoping that this will open the way for the major political blocs to take responsibility and come together to bring Lebanon out of the unknown," Mikati said in a speech aired live on television.

"There is no way to be loyal to Lebanon and protect it other than through dialogue that opens the way to the formation of a salvation government that represents all Lebanese political powers and takes responsibility for saving the nation." 

Reuters reported Mikati quit after the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies blocked the new election law and the Hezbollah-dominated Cabinet opposed extending the tenure of the country's police chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi.  

The AP said the Islamic militant group considered Rifi an enemy. 

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