Arafat “not happy” with new proposed cabinet
Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat has yet to endorse a draft proposal for a new cabinet presented to him Sunday by Prime Minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), as three veteran Palestinian cabinet ministers officially declined to join the new government.
PM Abu Mazen presented the initial proposal to Arafat late Saturday, officials said, adding that the Palestinian leader was “not happy” with the line-up. The line-up would also have to be approved by the Palestinian parliament.
However, three prominent Palestinian officials have declined to join the new cabinet line-up proposed by Abbas, namely culture and information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, cabinet minister for local government and chief negotiator, Sa’eb Erakat, and economy minister Maher al-Masri, Palestinian officials have said.
Abbas nominated Abed Rabbo and Erakat as ministers of state without portfolios.
Labour minister Ghassan Al-Khatib was also said to be “unhappy” at being named, saying he had not been consulted, and that he had learned of his proposed nomination from the press.
Palestinian al-Ayyam daily on Monday said that PM Abbas kept the interior ministry portfolio to himself, adding that the only incumbent ministers of finance and education Salam Fayyad and Naeem Abu al-Hummus respectively will stay with cabinet posts, while Nasr Yousef, member of the Fatah central committee, is proposed as the only deputy prime minister.
Nabil Sha’ath is nominated for the international cooperation portfolio and Mohammad Dahlan as a minister of state for interior affairs. Arafat is said to be particularly unhappy with the appointment of the latter. Dahlan fell out with Arafat last year.
Among the new faces are the secretary general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council (FRC) Hamdan Ashour, who is proposed for public works and housing, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Abdul-Fattah Hamayel for the youth and sports portfolio, PLC member Ziad Abu Amr for culture, and PLC member Abdul-Karim Abu Salah for justice and PLC member Kamal al-Sharafi for health.
Prominent banker Azzam al-Shawwa, from Gaza, is nominated for the economy and trade portfolio.
Former cabinet ministers Nabil Amr, Sa’adi al-Krunz, Rafiq al-Natsha and Hikmat Zaid are nominated for the information, local government, labour and agriculture portfolios respectively.
Mitri Abu E’itah is rumored to maintain his cabinet post as minister of communications. No nominees were announced for the social affairs and the Awqaf portfolios.
Abbas’ line-up left out incumbent ministers Hani Al-Hasan, Intissar Al-Wazir (Umm Jihad), Azzam Al-Ahmad, Zuhair Al-Sourani, Ahmad Al-Shibi and Hisham Abdul-Razzaq, in addition to Ahmad Abdul-Rahman the Council of Ministers’ secretary general.
Samir Ghoshe’s status has not been decided yet.
The Central Committee of Fatah planned to meet Sunday evening to continue consultations on the draft line-up, but postponed its meeting for Monday evening. (Albawaba.com)