Abbas swears in new Palestinian government
The new Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his 24-member caretaker cabinet were sworn in yesterday.
President Mahmoud Abbas chose the 54-year-old academic for the post after Salam Fayyad resigned in April and asked him to form a government.
Hamdallah who served under Fayyad said he would keep most of the ministers.
“Consultations are in the final stage and hopefully we will announce the new government on Thursday evening,” Hamdallah told Voice of Palestine radio on Wednesday.
“We agreed with the president that most ministers would remain in place,” said Hamdallah, who was appointed on Sunday by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
He is expected to appoint Mohammad Mustafa, who heads the Palestine Investment Fund, and Ziad Abu Amr, an expert on Islamic movements and advisor to Abbas, as his deputies.
Hamdallah is also expected to appoint banker Shukri Bishara as finance minister. Fayyad had held the portfolio during his six years as acting premier.
The caretaker government is to remain in office until mid-August, when the secular Fatah party in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip are due to form a unity government.
Fatah leader Abbas is to head the government comprised of independent technocrats.
The rival Fatah and Hamas movements have entered into reconciliation deals but failed to implement them.
Hamdallah is an independent who heads Najah National University in the West Bank city of Nablus
At a meeting in Cairo on May 14, Abbas and Hamas set a three-month timeframe to implement key provisions of the 2011 agreement.
“Let’s be optimists and hope that we can achieve a unity government on 14 August, and I will do everything in my power to do so,” Hamdallah said.
“I ask all Palestinian factions to work together to end this sad situation of division.”