Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri leaves the Baabda Palace after talks with President Michel Sleiman, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (The Daily Star/Dalati&Nohra, HO)
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Lebanon could have a new government as early as Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest, after major obstacles over the distribution of key ministerial portfolios have been eliminated, sources close to the Cabinet formation process said Tuesday."Since 3 p.m. Monday, I can confirm that there is no longer anything to justify a delay in issuing the Cabinet lineup decree because each side has taken more than his share of sovereign, public service or normal portfolios," Berri was quoted as saying by visitors at his Ain al-Tineh residence.He was referring to a major breakthrough in the six-week-long Cabinet standoff that emerged Monday after MP Sleiman Frangieh declared following talks with Berri that the speaker had agreed to concede the Public Works Ministry to Frangieh's Marada Movement. Berri said he gave the Public Works portfolio to Frangieh as a means of facilitating the Cabinet formation.However, the source close to the Cabinet formation process dismissed media reports that Hariri had now opted to form a 30-member national accord government instead of a 24-member body.MP Ibrahim Kanaan from the FPM said that positive breakthroughs have been made in the Cabinet formation, in a reference to resolving the problem of the Marada Movement's representation. However, he stressed that the final Cabinet lineup needs to be approved by Aoun and Hariri.
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