Hariri receives Safadi at his Downtown Beirut residence.
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The chances of reaching consensus among various political factions to avert a much-feared fierce municipal battle in Tripoli were boosted Monday following a meeting between former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and MP Mohammad Safadi that resulted in an agreement on a consensus candidate to head the northern city's 24-member municipal council.During the meeting, Hariri and Safadi reached an agreement on naming Omar Hallab as a consensus candidate to head Tripoli's municipal council, while discussions will continue with the other parties wishing to join a consensual electoral list, political sources told The Daily Star.However, the Hariri-Safadi agreement did not necessarily mean that Mikati would go along and endorse Hallab's candidacy for Tripoli's mayor.An electoral alliance between Hariri and his political opponent, Mikati, is viewed as essential for avoiding a combative municipal battle in Tripoli.Therefore, there are those in Tripoli who assert that a fierce municipal battle is inevitable as long as a section of the political factions will protest the consensus imposed on the city and will contest the elections with rival lists.
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