Bassil has stepped up his rhetoric against Machnouk. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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A long-simmering rift between two key ministers over the country's foreign policy and the implementation of a new electoral law burst out into the open Wednesday, casting gloom over the relationship between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The latest eruption in the war of words between Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, a key figure in the Future Movement, against Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, is the second in two weeks. Both Bassil and Machnouk are members of the committee, which is headed by Hariri.Differences on how to approach the implementation of biometric cards have resulted in a stark political split, particularly between Machnouk and Bassil.Bassil insists that the ID cards should be manufactured for all voters – the number of which looks set to be just over 3 million – and used in the elections, while Machnouk argues that there is insufficient time to produce this number of cards. Machnouk lashed out at Bassil, saying that Lebanon's foreign policy was "rudderless".But Bassil indirectly struck back at Machnouk, accusing him of being "subservient" to foreign powers.
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