Salam Hosts Hariri, Miqati for Dinner ahead of Tripoli Municipal Polls

Head of the Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri and former Prime Minister Najib Miqati held a rare meeting on Thursday weeks before the municipal elections in the northern city of Tripoli and Akkar.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam hosted the two officials over dinner at his Msaytbeh residence in Beirut and a statement at the end of the meeting said that they stressed the need to “bolster unity among Lebanese factions without exception because Lebanon needs to fortify its internal front given the explosive regional situation.”

Hariri and Miqati underlined Salam's initiative to hold the municipal and mayoral polls.

They hoped that this initiative would lead to staging other elections, namely the presidential and parliamentary ones, continued the statement.

Northern sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper on Friday meanwhile that Hariri is seeking the election of Omar al-Hallab as Tripoli municipal chief, while Miqati is insisting on Azzam Oweida.

Failure to acquiesce to his demand will force Miqati to wage an electoral battle with Hariri in the northern city, predicted the sources.

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas told al-Joumhouria that there is a “50 percent chance that the two officials will reach an agreement because Tripoli is not looking forward to an electoral battle.”

The municipal polls kicked off on May 8 in Beirut and the Bekaa region. The next stage will be held in the Mount Lebanon region on Sunday. They will be followed by polls in the South and Nabatieh on May 22 and the North and Akkar on May 29.


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