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Hizballah-Backed Candidate Appointed Lebanon's Prime Minister


Protesters gather in Tripoli in support of the caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
A candidate backed by the Hizballah Shi'ite radical movement has been appointed Lebanon's prime minister.

President Michel Sleiman today asked Najib Mikati -- a Sunni billionaire turned politician -- to try to form a new government.

Speaking after his appointment, Mikati said he would start talks to form a new government on January 27 and urged all Lebanese factions to overcome their differences.

Acting Prime Minister Saad Hariri said previously he would not join a Hizballah-controlled government.

Hizballah brought down Hariri's government when it walked out in mid-January.

Mikati's nomination set off protests by Hariri supporters in the northern city of Tripoli and elsewhere.

The United States has voiced "great concern" over a Lebanese government dominated by Iran-backed Hizballah.

compiled from agency reports