Hariri met with Mikati, Siniora and Salam, who lent him their support, at his residence. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra/HO)
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President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri have agreed to step up efforts to overcome obstacles hindering the formation of a new government, official sources said Sunday, as the Cabinet standoff entered its second month with no solution in sight.A third hurdle blocking the Cabinet formation is a demand by Sunni lawmakers not affiliated with Hariri's Future Movement to be represented in the new government with two ministers amid rejection by the prime minister-designate.Hariri met with Aoun at Baabda Palace last Thursday, defusing tensions between them over the LF representation in the new government. The meeting followed a reported rift between the two leaders over the prerogatives concerning the Cabinet formation.In an unprecedented strong statement released by his media office last week, Aoun toughened his position on the LF's demand for key ministerial posts in the new government, by declaring it is his constitutional right to choose the deputy prime minister and some other ministers in order to monitor the Cabinet's performance. A ministerial source familiar with the Cabinet formation process had told The Daily Star that the LF accepted four ministers, including the position of the deputy prime minister, but Aoun is insisting on allotting the deputy prime minister's post to a minister loyal to him. The LF currently controls the deputy prime minister's post in Hariri's caretaker Cabinet.
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