Palestinian PM resigns for government reshuffle

19:58, February 14, 2011      

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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (C) attends the Palestinian cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Feb. 14, 2011. Salam Fayyad resigned on Monday in preparation to form a new government during the meeting. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday accepted Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's resignation and tasked him to form a new government, which was opposed by Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip.

"This assignment is illegal and unaccepted," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip. Abu Zuhri said any new government must obtain confidence from the Hamas-dominated parliament, which has been disabled since 2007, when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces, ousted Fatah and took over Gaza.

Earlier, sources told Xinhua that the new government would work on implementing a series of recent decisions aimed at ending internal split and promoting national unity.

"The government will pave the way for holding local, parliamentary and presidential elections," according to the sources.

However, Hamas also rejects holding elections under the current circumstances, saying a national agreement and reconciliation should precede any type of elections.

Meanwhile, Fatah praised the formation of a new government, saying it will boost "governmental reform," which has been a pressing demand.

Fatah's Central Committee will hold a meeting headed by Abbas on Tuesday to discuss the government's reshuffle and its priorities.

The sources said that Abbas asked Fayyad to expand the new government and try to reflect as many political verities as possible.

Ahmad Majdalani, a former minister in the Palestinian government, said the reshuffle will target at least half of the ministries. The sources said most of the key portfolios would be under the reshuffle, including the foreign, health, economy, work, justice, finance and information ministries.
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