Parliament s secretariat gather in a meeting chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut, Monday, July 16, 2018. (The Daily Star/HO)
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Monday sounded optimistic about breaking the eight-week Cabinet impasse, despite the still-simmering rift between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces over Christian representation that is blocking the formation of a new government.A weekend meeting that had been widely expected between Hariri and Bassil did not materialize, giving rise to speculation about tensions between the two over the LF's push for key ministerial portfolios in the new government – clearly opposed by the FPM leader.The meeting was deemed crucial because it would also wrap up Hariri's consultations with leaders of major blocs on the government formation before presenting a draft Cabinet lineup to Aoun.It added that Khoury and Bou Saab agreed that they would brief Hariri and Bassil on proposals to facilitate the government formation and to hold another meeting Tuesday.LF ministers and lawmakers have accused Bassil of obstructing the government's formation by seeking to prevent the LF from obtaining a Cabinet share commensurate with its parliamentary size.The LF's demand for key ministerial portfolios, including the position of the deputy prime minister, has been rejected by Aoun and Bassil.In his remarks to reporters, Hariri said he would form the government in agreement with Aoun and all the parties and blocs represented in his caretaker Cabinet.
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