Talal Arslan
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New Govt. Hurdles: Suleiman’s Veto, Arslan’s Demand, Naming 6th Sunni Minister

Three new obstacles have risen in the government formation process culminating in differences over naming the sixth Sunni minister, Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan’s demand for a Cabinet portfolio, and President Michel Suleiman’s refusal to reappoint Adnan Sayyed Hussein as minister

The dispute over the sixth Sunni minister arose when Speaker Nabih Berri’s advisor MP Ali Hasan Khalil and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s political advisor Hussein al-Khalil held talks with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati on Friday afternoon.

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Arslan Insists on Getting a Portfolio

Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan said that a meeting held between March 8 officials in parliament on Wednesday focused on solving the obstacles that are delaying the cabinet formation.

Arslan told As Safir newspaper on Thursday that hints that a dispute between President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun was obstructing the formation of the government are “not true.”

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Jumblat Confirms his Alliance with March 8, Meeting at Parliament was ‘Nice Coincidence’

National Struggle Front bloc leader Walid Jumblat said Wednesday that he confirmed his alliance with Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier-designate Najib Miqati during talks they held along with several MPs at parliament.

The Druze chief told al-Jadeed TV that the meeting he held with Miqati, Berri and MPs Michel Aoun, Suleiman Franjieh, Mohammed Raad, Talal Arslan and Assaad Hardan, all members of the March 8 forces, was a “nice coincidence.”

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Miqati’s Circles Accuse Aoun of Turning Against Cabinet Deal, Say Wise Men Remain Silent

Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s circles have snapped back at Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun expressing “surprise” at his demands and accusing him of turning against an alleged deal reached on the new cabinet more than a month ago.

In remarks to several Beirut newspapers, the circles denied that Miqati was behind the delay in the formation of the government, saying the prime minister-designate was rejecting Aoun’s new demands after the FPM chief turned against an agreement reached between the different parties.

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Miqati Frustrated over Attempts to Throw Cabinet Deadlock Ball in his Court

Premier-designate Najib Miqati rejected attempts to throw the cabinet delay ball in his court, deciding to give consultations more time after Speaker Nabih Berri informed him that a de facto government would lead to negative repercussions, As Safir daily reported Monday.

Miqati’s circles told the newspaper that Miqati complied with the demand of Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat to back off from a plan to announce a de facto cabinet.

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Obstacles Further Complicate Cabinet Formation Process

Premier-designate Najib Miqati won’t give up his task of forming the new government despite the latest surprising stance made by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and more crippling demands by other March 8 members, Miqati’s sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

“There was an agreement to hold meetings between some leaders including a meeting between Aoun and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah … but some surprising political stances … shattered the atmosphere of optimism,” the sources said in remarks published Thursday.

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Three Tens Cabinet Formula Awaits Aoun’s Consent

Negotiations on the formation of the new cabinet haven’t yet reached the stage of distribution of portfolios amid reports that Premier-designate Najib Miqati is suggesting that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun get 10 ministers.

“Negotiations haven’t yet overcome the obstacle of distribution of shares,” An Nahar daily quoted sources as saying in remarks published Friday.

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Miqati Meets Nasrallah Amid Report About Differences on Cabinet Size, Shares

Premier-designate Najib Miqati has reportedly discussed the government formation process with Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the second meeting between the two officials since Miqati’s nomination on January 25.

Al-Akhbar and As Safir dailies said that the two men met on Tuesday night to discuss the obstacles facing the formation of the new cabinet.

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Arslan Urges Miqati to Ward Off Local-Foreign Pressure and Form the Cabinet

Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan said there was no excuse in delaying the formation of the cabinet, stressing that neither the international tribunal’s indictment nor the March 14 stance would be in favor of Lebanon.

“I am not convinced of statements that call for waiting for the development of the situation internally and abroad,” Arslan told As Safir daily in remarks published Monday.

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Arslan Rejects Categorizing Sects as 1st Degree and 2nd Degree Confessions

Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan criticized the alleged categorization of sects as first degree or second degree confessions, calling for unity among the Lebanese to confront challenges.

“With all respect to all confessions, there is nothing called monopoly of ministries by any sect,” Arslan told As Safir daily in remarks published Saturday.

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