| 3.2°C Dublin

What does a Hezbollah-led government mean for Lebanon?

Najib Mikati, who is set to take over as Lebanon's prime minister, is a billionaire man of the world but he has been chosen by Hezbollah to drag the country into international isolation.

Lebanese have erupted in fury at the Iranian-backed party's 'coup,' believing its has suborned the democratic majority in parliament in its favour.

Mr Mikati has emerged from the obscurity of Lebanon's second largest capitalist fortune to be the new figurehead of a government that will be dominated by Hezbollah.

It is not the unlikely mixture of paternalistic Harvard-educated tycoon and bearded guerrillas that stands out in Lebanon.

The purpose of the new coalition is however a marked departure for the Middle East's troubled democracy.

Mr Mikati will spearhead a policy of non-cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which was set up under UN auspices to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The STL is to imminently publish indictments against Hezbollah members that were allegedly commissioned by Syria to plant and detonate the massive car bomb that eviscerated Mr Hariri's convoy on Beirut's Corniche in 2005.

Hezbollah maintains that Israel has hoodwinked the tribunal by concocting evidence that points the finger of blame at the Lebanese party. It will not countenance giving up its members to international justice.

By spurning the indictments, the new Lebanese government will claim that it is averting a new danger of civil war.

But Mr Mikati, who made his fortune in building a multinational mobile telephone empire, will bring down the wrath of diplomatic anger on his head.

France and the US, which fund the tribunal, see the enforcement of the warrants as a key historic step on the road to Lebanon emergence as an independent, self-governing state.

Among the Sunni Muslims of Lebanon who regarded Mr Hariri as their champion in its confessional politics, Mr Mikati – a Sunni – is already villain.

Soon his name will be the object of controversy around the world.