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Middle East
Lebanese MPs aim to end stalemate
President Michel Suleiman begins talks in bid to appoint a new prime minister.
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2009 16:43 GMT
Hariri announced he was stepping down as prime minister-designate last week [EPA]

Michel Suleiman, Lebanon's president, has begun talks with members of parliament in an effort to appoint a new prime minister after Saad Hariri, the prime minister-designate, quit the post.

Suleiman began meeting the 128 members of Lebanon's parliament on Tuesday for two-day consultations that are expected to see Hariri re-nominated.

Hariri announced last week that he was stepping down, saying he was unable to establish a unity government 10 weeks after being appointed.

He had been trying to reach a consensus on the distribution of the country's 30 ministerial posts.

Political tensions

Political tensions remained on Tuesday, as the coalition of parliament speaker Nabih Berri announced it would not name anyone for the post.

Hariri was still expected to gain enough support to be renamed prime minister-designate.

Leader of the March 14 alliance, Hariri was appointed on June 27 after he and his allies won a majority of 71 seats in an election earlier that month.

The rival Hezbollah opposition and its allies won 57.

Hariri has said that the conditions set by the Hezbollah-led bloc in talks to form a unity cabinet sought to undermine the election.

Rival alliances had agreed on the broad division of seats in the cabinet, but could not agree on the details.

Under Hariri's proposal, his alliance would have had 15 seats, the Hezbollah-led minority would have had 10, and Suleiman would pick the remaining five.

However, the opposition dismissed the make up and put forward an alternative.

Source:
Agencies
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