File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
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Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has given the March 8 coalition a Sunday deadline to accept his proposed 8-8-8 Cabinet lineup, or else he will form a fait accompli government, a senior political source said Thursday.Salam also strongly rejected Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's demand that his son-in-law, caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, retain his post as energy minister in the new Cabinet, the source said. Bassil met with Salam Monday to convey Aoun's opposition to the rotation of key ministerial portfolios in the new Cabinet.If Salam announces an 8-8-8 Cabinet lineup without Bassil retaining the energy portfolio, Aoun is expected to withdraw his ministers, the source said.However, Hezbollah signaled that it would support Aoun if he decided to stay out of the Cabinet.Political sources said Hezbollah was ready to sacrifice one of its two ministers in the new Cabinet to the FPM in order to appease Aoun.Aoun is believed to be opposing the rotation of ministerial portfolios based on party and sect in the new Cabinet lineup because this would deprive him of two key portfolios: The Energy Ministry currently held by Bassil and the Telecommunications Ministry held by Nicolas Sehnaoui, who also belongs to the FPM.
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