Lebanon appeared to be edging towards clinching a deal to form a new national unity government after more than seven months of wrangling over cabinet posts, as the finance minister was quoted as saying there could be a new administration within days.
Efforts to form a new government led by Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri have been obstructed by rival groups' conflicting demands for seats in a cabinet that must be formed in line with a finely balanced sectarian political system.
Heavily indebted and suffering from a stagnant economy, Lebanon is in dire need of an administration that can set about long-stalled economic reforms to put public debt on a sustainable footing.
"Matters in the government file are moving in a positive direction. If the situation continues with this positivity we will have a new government within a few days," Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil was cited as saying by al-Manar TV, which is run by Hezbollah.
The Hariri-owned al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported a "positive atmosphere" which indicated the government formation effort "was close to reaching its hoped-for conclusion". "The road to the government has become open to a very large degree," it reported.
The final logjam has been over Sunni Muslim representation, with a group of Hezbollah-allied Sunni MPs demanding a cabinet seat to reflect gains in the May election in which Hariri lost more than a third of his lawmakers.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
IS 'caliphate' on brink of defeat in Syria as Trump urges Europe to do more
To fight off unemployment, Iraqi youth plant start-up seeds
IS fighters on brink of defeat in Syria
Iranians cry ‘revenge’ at funeral of suicide bomb victims
Troops arrest four Palestinians
Islamic State's 'caliphate' on brink of defeat in Syria
Tunisian workers kidnapped in Libya
Turkey urges US to put its weight behind Khashoggi probe
Acting Pentagon chief says committed to defeating IS, but allies sceptical