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Rival ministers engaged in a new war of words Friday over the need to abide by the Constitution and partnership in government, reflecting a widening political confrontation between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over a decree promoting a number of Army officers.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement founded by Aoun, and Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, a top political aide to Berri, traded barbs at two separate news conferences over alleged violation of the equal power sharing formula between Muslims and Christians stipulated by the Constitution and the Taif Accord.Bassil's call for "a civil state" and the abrogation of political sectarianism appeared to be a response to Berri who, enraged by the officers' decree, has implicitly accused Aoun of violating the Constitution and the Taif Accord that stipulated equal power-sharing between Muslims and Christians.Berri has rejected the controversial decree, signed last month by Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, because it sidestepped the finance minister's signature.A few hours after Bassil's conference, Khalil held his own news conference at the Finance Ministry to hit back at the FPM leader.
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