Opposition restless in Beirut

Oct. 26, 2009 at 12:06 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Opposition lawmakers in Lebanon said they would consider a new approach if a government is not formed by the end of the week.

Lebanon held parliamentary elections in June, giving Saad Hariri and his March 14 coalition a narrow victory over the opposition March 8 slate. Hariri pledged to work quickly to form a new government, but political defections and disputes over ministerial portfolios hampered development.

Hariri met with Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, during the weekend to discuss remaining obstacles to forming a national government, Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper reports.

Hariri had brokered a power-sharing agreement with members of the opposition and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. Aoun, however, pushed for more control last week and held up deliberations over who would head the Telecommunications Ministry.

Hariri had said the telecommunications portfolio could rest in Aoun's hand, but the lawmakers debated over the decision to reappoint Aoun's son-in-law to the post.

The Star reports any progress would require another round of talks between Prime Minister-designate Hariri and Aoun. Opposition leaders said if a new government is not formed within the week, the approach needs to be changed.

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