New Palestinian Government to be Formed in Days: Officials

AFP

RAMALLAH: Palestinian prime minister-designate Mohammad Shtayyeh will announce the make-up of his new government in the coming days, Palestinian officials said Monday.
Shtayyeh has until April 14 to form a new government which is expected to exclude all supporters of Hamas, longtime rival to the Fatah movement of both Shtayyeh and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Analysts say real decision-making power remains with 84-year-old Abbas, in power since 2005.
Abbas on March 10 charged Shtayyeh with forming the new government, replacing Rami Hamdallah’s technocratic administration which had the nominal backing of Hamas.
The movement controls the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority Abbas heads is based in the West Bank, where Israel also maintains a military occupation.
Five smaller factions will also join Fatah in the new government, officials said.
Others, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, refused to take part.
Deputy president Mahmoud Aloul told AFP a meeting would be held Monday evening between Shtayyeh and Abbas to decide on candidates for remaining ministries.
He said agreements had been reached over which factions would control which ministries.
Hamas has criticized the formation of the government, accusing Fatah of a power grab.
Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 near-civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.
Palestinian politics has effectively been frozen since, and multiple reconciliation attempts have failed.
Former government minister Shtayyeh has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in US-brokered talks with Israel.

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