Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday asked Palestinian academic Rami Hamdallah to head a government.

Hamdallah, president of An-Najah University in Nablus, will succeed caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who submitted his resignation on April 13.

Hamdallah has no political experience and is not known to be affiliated with any political faction.

Abbas summoned Hamdallah to his office in Ramallah and informed him of the decision to entrust him with heading a government.

Hamdallah also served as secretary-general of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission.

A PLO official in Ramallah expressed surprise at the appointment of Hamdallah saying Abbas did not consult with the PLO leadership before making his announcement.

Earlier, Palestinian sources told the Palestinian daily Al- Quds that the leading candidate for prime minister was Planning Minister Muhammad Abu Ramadan.

Born in 1958, the British educated Hamdallah has been president of An-Najah University since 1998.

During the meeting in Ramallah, Abbas said he remained committed to reconciliation agreements with Hamas that call for the formation of a unity government.

But Hamas, responding to the appointment of Hamdallah, said that the new government would not represent the Palestinian people.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the new government would be “illegal,” because it had not won the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Abu Zuhri said that Abbas’s decision was also in violation of agreements with Hamas.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger