Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (R) greets his Lebanese counterpart Saad Hariri upon his arrival for a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on July 20, 2018. AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRE
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's return to Beirut is expected to get stalled consultations on the formation of a new government back into motion, political sources said Monday, putting to test his optimism of an imminent breakthrough in the two-month standoff.The source said Aoun was waiting for Hariri to present him with the first draft lineup of a 30-member national unity government representing most of the country's political parties in the hope of breaking the Cabinet impasse.Caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi, one of three LF ministers in Hariri's caretaker Cabinet, said over the weekend his party won't accept fewer than five ministers in the new government, in what appeared to be a toughening of the stance against Bassil's opposition to the LF's push for key ministerial portfolios commensurate with its parliamentary size.Bassil has been accused by LF ministers and lawmakers of blocking the government's formation by seeking to prevent the LF from obtaining a Cabinet share proportionate to its parliamentary size after its boosted its representation from eight to 15 MPs in the May 6 elections. Similarly, Hariri has vowed to name six Sunni ministers in the new government, ruling out the possibility of representing Sunni lawmakers not affiliated with his Future Movement.
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