March 23, 2013 - 10:48 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Najib Mikati, the prime minister of Lebanon, has announced the resignation of his government, calling for the formation of a national unity government, The Telegraph reported.
Lebanon is currently buckling under the pressure of the conflict engulfing neighboring Syria. Tensions in the country have been exacerbated, as the violence from across the border spills into Lebanon.
"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.
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.
The government has held off agreeing on the membership of the commission over fears it would ensure that elections scheduled for June are held on the basis of a decades-old electoral law.
Mikati, along with the leader of Lebanon's Druze community, Walid Jumblatt, is said to favor the existing law.
It gives his Sunni community and the Druze disproportionate strength in the parliament, but is vehemently opposed by Lebanon's Christians, who say it fails to give them representative weight.
Attempts earlier this year to approve an alternative election law failed, and both Mikati and President Michel Sleiman have called for election preparations to move forward so the vote can be held on time.
The premier's resignation also came against the backdrop of his contentious bid to extend the term of the Sunni head of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, General Ashraf Rifi.
A majority of the government, including Hizbollah and their Christian allies, opposes extending Rifi's term, and analysts had suggested Mikati could resign over that issue alone.