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
Abbas summoned Hamdallah to his office in Ramallah and informed
him of the decision to entrust him with heading a government.
also served as secretary-general of the Palestinian Central Elections
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.
the meeting in Ramallah, Abbas said he remained committed to reconciliation
agreements with Hamas that call for the formation of a unity
But Hamas, responding to the appointment of Hamdallah, said
that the new government would not represent the Palestinian people.
spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the new government would be “illegal,”
because it had not won the approval of the Palestinian Legislative
Abu Zuhri said that Abbas’s decision was also in violation of
agreements with Hamas.