Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri arrives for a Cabinet session in Baabda, Monday, May 21, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's return to Beirut Tuesday night from Paris after visits to Moscow and Riyadh is expected to set Cabinet formation efforts, stalled by the Eid al-Adha holiday, into full motion, political sources said.Hariri's return came amid stern warnings Tuesday by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil against a further delay in the formation of a new government and its negative impact on the country's struggling economy. Berri also warned that if the new government was not formed within the next 10 days, its formation would become more difficult.On the eve of Hariri's return to Beirut, official and parliamentary sources told The Daily Star that the premier-designate would have to overcome the same three major hurdles delaying the government formation: the struggle between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces over Christian representation; the problem of Druze representation; and the representation of independent Sunni lawmakers not affiliated with Hariri's Future Movement.In the face of PSP leader Walid Joumblatt's demand that the bloc obtain the three posts, President Michel Aoun and Bassil were reported to be insisting on naming MP Talal Arslan, Joumblatt's Druze rival, as a minister in the new government.
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