Aoun receives former Deputy Prime Minister Issma Fares at the presidential Palace in Baabda. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is poised to return to the premiership this week after having secured the support of most of the country's major blocs, including his Future Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces, MP Walid Jumblatt's bloc, in addition to a number of independent lawmakers.Hariri is widely expected to be named premier after Aoun wraps up two days of binding consultations with various parliamentary blocs to poll them on their choice for a prime minister.But judging by previous Cabinet formation attempts, Hariri is expected to face a tough job in his bid to put together a national unity government, given the diametrically conflicting demands of the rival factions vying for key ministerial portfolios.Hours after his election by Parliament Tuesday as Lebanon's 13th president with an absolute majority, Aoun scheduled Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with political leaders and heads of parliamentary over the appointment of the next prime minister to replace outgoing Prime Minister Tammam Salam, whose 24-member Cabinet is now serving in a caretaker capacity following the election of a new president.Speaker Nabih Berri has yet to decide whether his parliamentary bloc will name Hariri for the premiership. Later in the day, Bassil announced that Aoun's 23-member Change and Reform bloc in Parliament would back Hariri for the premiership.
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