Fatah nominates Fayyad as PM; Hamas rejects him

Ahead of a scheduled meeting in Cairo to hammer out the make-up of PA unity government, Hamas insists PM must come from Gaza Strip.

salam fayyad_311 reuters (photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
salam fayyad_311 reuters
(photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
Hamas on Sunday rejected their Palestinian rival Fatah's nomination for the next prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, the Associated Press reported. Hamas has said in the past that they expect the prime minister to come from Gaza, effectively ruling out Fayyad.
"Hamas will not agree to grant Salam Fayyad the confidence to run the national unity government," Hamas official Salah Bardawil told the AP.
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The latest - but not the first - rejection of Fayyad by Hamas comes just hours after Fatah announced its nomination of current PA Prime Minister Fayyad to remain prime minister in the new unity government with Hamas. Under the reconciliation agreement signed last month, both parties are supposed to nominate candidates for the unity government and then agree over its makeup.
Fatah representative Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the team that hammered out the original unity deal, told the AFP on Saturday, "The two sides will meet this Tuesday to form a government and we hope that this will be the last round of talks needed to finalize the make-up of the government."
However, Hamas’s insistence on excluding Fayyad is now the major obstacle to the formation of the government, a different senior Fatah official in Ramallah said last week.
The official confirmed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who visited Cairo last month, had asked Egyptian leaders to put pressure on Hamas to accept Fayyad as head of the new government.
Abbas believes that a unity government headed by Fayyad would ensure the continued flow of US and EU funding for the PA.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report