06/29/2009, 00.00
LEBANON
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Rival factions exchange fire as Hariri tries to form new government

by Paul Dakiki
A woman is killed in clashes; two other people are wounded. Security services downplay the incident. Hariri gets mandate to form new government which might include some members of the opposition.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – A woman was killed by a stray bullet during clashes in West Beirut between gunmen from the predominantly-Shia Amal party and Sunni supporters of Said Hariri. The dead woman, 30, was named Zeina Al-Miri. Security services, which downplayed the incident, reported that two other people were wounded.

According to witnesses clashes took place in the Aisha Bakkar district and involved supporters of Shia parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal movement and Saad Hariri’s Future Movement

Earlier this month Hariri’s party won parliamentary elections, preventing the Hizbollah-led group from taking power.

On Saturday President Michel Suleiman gave Hariri the task to form the new government.

Hariri was backed by his coalition group and Amal. Nabih Berri was re-elected as speaker.

Hariri said that he would try to have the opposition join the government.

However, the latter, especially Hizbollah, wants veto power, something the new prime minister is not likely to concede.

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