23 Mar 2013

Lebanon PM steps down

3:38 pm on 23 March 2013

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has announced the resignation of his entire government after his deeply divided cabinet was unable to agree on forthcoming elections.

Lebanon's political divisions are linked to the unrest in neighbouring Syria, with many Sunni Muslims sympathising with the rebels there, and Hezbollah supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

The BBC reports the move comes after the deeply divided cabinet failed to approve a commission to oversee elections planned for June.

It was also unable to agree on the extension of the term of office of the internal security chief, who is otherwise obliged to retire next month.

Mr Mikati said he hoped his departure would be "an impetus for leaders to shoulder their responsibilities".

He also urged political parties to "come together to bring Lebanon out of the unknown".

Mr Mikati revealed that he had almost quit twice before since taking office in 2011.