File - Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri receives Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea on Sept. 14, 2017. (The Daily Star/ Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Wednesday night stepped up his consultations with political leaders in an attempt to overcome obstacles holding up the formation of a new government.The meetings with Joumblatt and Geagea came a day after Hariri held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri on the Cabinet standoff amid rival parties' refusal to budge on their demands for key ministerial posts.Speaking to reporters after meeting Hariri at the prime minister-designate's Downtown Beirut residence, Joumblatt, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, appeared adamant that the PSP's parliamentary Democratic Gathering bloc be allocated the three ministerial posts reserved for the Druze sect in a 30-member Cabinet. Later, Hariri met with Geagea, who was accompanied by caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi.The LF chief said while Aoun and Hariri were working to form a new government as soon as possible, some parties, which he did not identify, were obstructing its formation.It was also viewed as a means of pressuring all parties to speed up the government formation.
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