File - Caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said Thursday the Free Patriotic Movement was adamant on retaining the Energy and Telecommunications ministries, clearly rejecting the concept of rotating ministerial portfolios proposed by Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam as a way out of the 10-month-old Cabinet stalemate.Bassil rejected accusations that FPM leader MP Michel Aoun's opposition to the rotation of ministerial portfolios was to blame for impeding the formation of a new Cabinet.Bassil said Aoun had told Salam shortly after he was named prime minister-designate in April that the FPM wanted to retain the Energy and Telecommunications ministries.Sleiman and Salam have said that if attempts to form a national unity Cabinet based on an 8-8-8 lineup fail, this would leave them with two options: a neutral, nonpartisan government, or an all-embracing political government without the blessing of Aoun.Aoun insisted Tuesday that Bassil, his son-in-law, retain the Energy Ministry and called on Salam to step aside after failing in 10 months to form a new Cabinet.
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