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Senior officials of the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces Wednesday held eleventh-hour negotiations in a bid to resolve the problem of Christian representation, as political rivals held on to their optimism that a new Cabinet would be formed later this week. The ice-breaking meeting between caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the FPM leader, and caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi from the LF was viewed as significant because it followed months of tensions and media campaigns between the two main Christian parties over Cabinet shares. Riachi denied the LF's Cabinet share was discussed during the meeting with Bassil.We want a productive government, not a government of barricades," he said, referring to the frequent verbal clashes between the FPM and LF ministers in Hariri's outgoing Cabinet, mainly over the FPM's plans to improve electricity supply.Ahead of his meeting with Riachi, Bassil sounded upbeat about the government formation. LF officials have accused Bassil of seeking to monopolize Cabinet seats and prevent the LF from obtaining significant Cabinet representation commensurate with the results of the May elections, in which the LF nearly doubled its number of MPs, from eight to 15 .
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