File - Premier-designate Tammam Salam appears during the Arab Women Forum's conference in the Four Seasons hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Premier-designate Tammam Salam, facing a possible boycott by MP Michel Aoun, scrambled Tuesday to secure sufficient Christian representation by seeking to encourage the Kataeb Party and Marada Movement into joining a national unity government, a senior March 8 source said.The development comes as Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, refused to yield on his opposition to the principle of rotating ministerial portfolios in an all-embracing Cabinet based on an 8-8-8 lineup. As a result, Aoun's unyielding stance has left Salam only with the choice of proceeding with forming an all-embracing political government even without the FPM leader's approval.If Aoun and Hezbollah decide to withdraw their ministers from the 8-8-8 Cabinet, the source added, Speaker Nabih Berri would not necessarily do the same, especially if sufficient Christian representation was secured.The concept of rotating portfolios among sects and parties, proposed by Salam and backed by President Michel Sleiman, was part of that deal.He argued that Salam adopted the principle of ministerial rotation after it was demanded by his political party, the Future Movement. Aoun has rejected Salam's eleventh-hour offer to reserve two key ministerial portfolios to the FPM in exchange for abandoning the Energy Ministry.
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