Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, left, meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Barring last-minute hitches, a new government based on an 8-8-8 lineup will probably be announced this week after rival leaders clinched a deal to break the nine-month Cabinet deadlock, a senior March 8 source said Sunday.Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora cited major progress in the Cabinet formation process, but said the Future Movement and its March 14 allies have not yet decided on the new Cabinet proposal.Optimism about breaking the nine-month Cabinet stalemate capped several days of intensified political activity aimed at narrowing differences between the March 8 and March 14 parties over the shape of the government.Berri and Jumblatt have spearheaded the political drive to promote an 8-8-8 Cabinet lineup, in which the March 8 and March 14 parties would each get eight ministers, with "decisive ministers" allotted for each side among the remaining eight ministerial portfolios set for centrists.Hezbollah, backed by its March 8 allies and Jumblatt, have warned of the dire consequences of a fait accompli government – their term for a neutral Cabinet – on the country's fragile security and stability. They insisted on an all-embracing government that would represent all the political parties.
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