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Hezbollah says Lebanon government delay risks 'slide towards tension'

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – The parliamentary bloc of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said on Thursday that delay in forming a new government risked Lebanon sliding “towards tension”.

“(The delay) has started to risk sliding towards tension … and we warn of the dangers of this,” the group said in a televised statement read out after the weekly meeting of its parliamentary bloc.

Lebanon held a general election on May 6, in which the Shi’ite Hezbollah and its parliamentary allies won a majority of seats. But the country’s rival blocs have not yet agreed on the composition of a new cabinet.

Designated prime minister Saad al-Hariri, a Sunni, and other leading Lebanese politicians have also urged parties to rapidly agree on a new parliament to help support the country’s fragile economy.

Political rivalry led to years of governmental paralysis in Lebanon and the country did not produce a state budget from 2005 until last year. May’s elections were the first in nine years.

The International Monetary Fund has said Lebanon urgently needs to address its fiscal policy to make its high levels of public debt sustainable.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall and Ellen Francis, editing by Larry King)

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