Abbas accepts resignation of Rami Hamdallah 24Jun13 June 24, 2013

Ma’an News Agency    -    23 June 2013

222406_345x230RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday accepted the resignation of newly-appointed Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, the president’s spokesman said.

Nabil Abu Rudeina said Abbas has asked Hamdallah to stay on as caretaker until a successor is sworn in.

Hamdallah, who was president of the Al-Najah University in Nablus, tendered his resignation on Thursday only two weeks after his government was sworn in.

His resignation followed a heated argument between his deputies Muhammad Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amr, whom Hamdallah had added to the new government.

Abbas held talks Hamdallah on Saturday for the second time in 24 hours, a senior official told Ma’an.

The 30 minute meeting aimed to solve a rift between Hamdallah and his two deputies Muhammad Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amr, but was ultimately unsuccessful, the official said.

Abbas has been relentlessly pursuing political legitimacy in the new PA cabinet, the official said, adding that the rift was not between Abbas and Hamdallah but within the cabinet itself.

A source told Ma’an that PADICO chief Mohammad Eshtayyieh is considered a strong front-runner to replace Hamdallah.

Hamdallah, an independent considered close to Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and secretary general of the Central Election Commission, quickly pledged after his nomination to follow a similar path to Fayyad and said he would leave the government line-up largely unchanged.

And he made clear he would quickly step aside in the summer after the planned formation of a government of national unity comprising Abbas’s Fatah and its Islamist rival, Hamas.

Fayyad resigned in mid-April after months of difficult relations with Abbas which hit a crisis over the resignation of finance minister Nabil Qassis, which the premier accepted but the president did not.

That power struggle resulted in Fayyad stepping down but staying on as caretaker prime minister upon Abbas’s request, with his term drawing to a close on June 2.

Fayyad was widely respected by the international community for building a sound institutional framework for the Palestinian Authority, and his resignation sparked concern over who would take up his mantle.

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