Hariri speaks with Machnouk during an Iftar in Beirut, Sunday, June 3, 2018. (The Daily Star/Grace Kassab)
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Serious negotiations on the formation of a new government will go into full swing starting Monday after Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's return to Beirut from a visit to Saudi Arabia over the weekend.Hariri has maintained his optimism about the formation of a new government after Eid al-Fitr despite hurdles and conflicting demands by political rivals for key ministerial posts.Hariri's speech came as political rivals engaged in the usual jockeying in a bid to grab a greater share of Cabinet posts, despite promises made by the leaders of major parliamentary blocs to help facilitate and accelerate the formation of a new unity government representing all parties.Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil agreed on the need for a new government to be formed quickly, taking into account the results of last month's parliamentary elections, according to a statement issued by the Free Patriotic Movement's media committee Sunday.Caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Mohammad Fneish, one of two Hezbollah ministers in the caretaker Cabinet, said his party's demand for a significant representation in the new government was legitimate.Hariri was quoted by MTV Friday as saying that Hezbollah would have three ministers in a 30-member Cabinet.
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