Fayyad dissolves Palestinian Authority cabinet

Hamas accuses Abbas of trying to fool people into thinking that genuine reform is underway: "This is silly theater."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 14, 2011 11:50
1 minute read.
Salam Fayyad.

fayyad lookin formal 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad on Monday dissolved his cabinet in an emergency meeting in what appeared to be a gesture inspired by unrest rocking the Arab world.

The official Wafa news agency said the move was intended to prepare for general elections planned later this year. Fayyad now has six weeks to name a new cabinet.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted Fayyad's decision after the cabinet meeting.

Abbas's Palestinian Authority has announced a series of dramatic moves following mass protests that ousted rulers in Egypt and Tunisia over the past month. The protests have spurred calls for democracy throughout the Middle East, a region dominated by monarchs and autocratic leaders.

The Palestinians are also dealing with the fallout from embarrassing media leaks about past peace talks with Israel. Together with deadlock in peace efforts with Israel, these developments have put pressure on Abbas to press forward with reforms.

The Palestinian Authority government said over the weekend that it would hold long-overdue general elections later this year, weeks after saying it would hold local elections in July.



The PA's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, also resigned in response to the leaks broadcast by the Al-Jazeera satellite channel, which detailed far-reaching concessions that his government was prepared to make to Israel to form a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian spokesman Ghassan Khatib said Fayyad's cabinet reshuffle had been planned for weeks.

"It's not tied to the new changes in the region," Khatib said.

The Wafa statement said the new cabinet will help implement Fayyad's plan to build Palestinian institutions in preparation for eventual independence, and to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

A Fayyad aide said his boss was expected to include members of Abbas's Fatah party in the cabinet, members of smaller Palestinian Authority factions, as well as independent technocrats. Fayyad is a US-educated economist.

"This is silly theater," said Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum. He accused Abbas of trying to fool people into thinking that genuine reform was underway.

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