PA PM Fayyad speaking (R) 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' dominant Fatah political faction has demanded that he sack Western-backed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, according to a letter shown to Reuters on Thursday.
RELATED:Fayyad says he's determined to end Fatah-Hamas splitFayyad: PA to Wean Itself Off Foreign Aid by 2013
The letter, signed by senior Fatah officials, was sent to Abbas on Saturday, but the president "did not take it seriously", a Fatah official told Reuters.
However, the request underlined deep political friction at the heart of
the Palestinian Authority, with many Fatah activists clearly frustrated
by Fayyad, who has no significant political base of his own but wields
Fayyad, a former World Bank economist, is widely credited by Western
governments with transforming the institutional landscape in the West
Bank, successfully building the core structures needed for a planned
independent Palestinian state.
As prime minister he controls finances and security, leaving many Fatah
members to complain bitterly in private that his high-profile activities
are overshadowing their own work.
"We suggest you reconsider re-appointing Dr. Fayyad and (instead) ask
that a strong Fatah figure do the job," said the letter, backed by
Fatah's central revolutionary council.
Looking to show his commitment for change in the wake of popular
protests across the Arab world, Abbas on Feb. 14 asked Fayyad to appoint
a new cabinet and prepare for elections.
Talks aimed at drawing up a new list of ministers have not gone as
quickly as hoped, and the Fatah discontent is likely to further
complicate Fayyad's task.
Fatah was particularly upset when Fayyad proposed forming a unity
government with Hamas Islamists, who seized control of the Gaza Strip in
2007 after a brief civil war with Fatah forces.
Hamas rejected Fayyad's advances and denounced him as a puppet of the
West, which provides much of the aid needed to prop up the West Bank
economy under Israeli occupation.
Fatah has dominated Palestinian politics for generations and many
activists are angered by Abbas's apparent reliance on Fayyad, saying it
risks eroding their credibility.