Aoun receives Hariri in Rabieh, Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
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Despite optimism by Free Patriotic Movement officials that a deal on backing MP Michel Aoun for the presidency is drawing near, all signs indicate that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's final word on whether to endorse Aoun's presidential bid is not imminent, political sources said Friday.Hariri's consultations with Lebanese leaders have signaled that he might shift his support for Aoun in a bid to break the presidential impasse.Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, one of the FPM's two ministers, sounded optimistic that rival leaders would reach an agreement on the presidency soon, but stressed that the final say in the agreement remained with Hariri to endorse Aoun's candidacy for the country's top Christian post.Bou Saab and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the FPM leader, have met with heads of several political blocs, seeking to rally their support for Aoun's presidential bid.Gemayel has said the Kataeb Party will not support Aoun or Frangieh for the presidency due to political differences.
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