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During its first session this year, the Cabinet Thursday allocated LL50 billion ($33 million) for parliamentary elections slated for May 6, as Prime Minister Saad Hariri weighed in to try to resolve a deep political rift between the president and the speaker.However, the Cabinet session, chaired by President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace, avoided the sensitive and widening dispute between Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over the signing of a decree promoting a number of Army officers, ministerial sources said.In fact, at the end of the Cabinet session, Hariri met separately at Baabda Palace with Aoun and Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, a top political aide to Berri, whose signature is currently at the center of the decree crisis.In a bid to defuse tensions between Aoun and Berri, Hariri has asked Fouad Fleifel, the Cabinet's secretary-general, to put off the publication of the decree in the Official Gazette until a solution is found to the dispute. However, Berri said the decree crisis dragged on, renewing his call for sending the decree to the finance minister to sign it as the only solution.Tensions between Aoun and Berri have ramped up over the decree, which skipped the finance minister's signature.
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