“This is the country we want,” Hariri said from Beirut’s Downtown. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Sunday broke his silence on the Cabinet formation stalemate, reassuring the Lebanese that a new government would be set up at the start of the new year. Despite the difficulties that have encountered his attempts over the past seven months to form a national unity government embracing the main political factions, Hariri said he was confident that all the parties wanted a resolution to the Cabinet deadlock, now in its eighth month.Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil was reported over the weekend to have revived a proposal, which had been rejected by Hariri, for expanding the new Cabinet from 30 to 32 ministers as a means of resolving the issue of representing six Hezbollah-backed Sunni MPs in the new government.Despite the difficulties, Bassil said a new government would eventually be formed.Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea called on Aoun and Hariri to make the decision to form a government and send a Cabinet formation decree to Parliament, despite the unresolved issues.Once the decree is signed and sent to Parliament for a vote of confidence, Geagea said, "any opposing party" can then voice its objection to the lineup.For his part, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called for the formation of a small government after attempts had failed to set up a 30-member Cabinet.
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