Haniyeh wins nomination for PA PM

Hamas will begin work on forming a new government Monday, Haniyeh says.

haniyeh frowning 298 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
haniyeh frowning 298 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Ismail Haniyeh, a prominent Hamas lawmaker in the Gaza Strip, was nominated Sunday to be Palestinian prime minister. Haniyeh, 43, confirmed to reporters Sunday that he had been nominated for the post, a day after being sworn into the new Hamas-led Palestinian parliament. Hamas first announced the appointment, which was widely expected, in a text message. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was expected later Sunday to formally charge Haniyeh with the task of putting together a new cabinet. Haniyeh would then have three weeks to submit a government to Abbas for approval. Hamas would begin work on forming a new Palestinian government on Monday, Haniyeh said. He said the group would hold talks with various Palestinian factions. Addressing the parliament on Saturday, Abbas said he expected Hamas to honor existing peace accords with Israel and halt violence. Hamas leaders rejected those calls, but signaled a willingness to compromise. Born in Gaza's Shati refugee camp, Haniyeh graduated from Gaza City's Islamic University in 1987 with a degree in Arabic literature and became a close associate of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Haniyeh was expelled by Israel to south Lebanon in 1992, returned to Gaza a year later and became the dean of the Islamic University. In 1998, he took charge of Yassin's office. He also served as a liaison between Hamas and Palestinian Authority. He rose to prominence after Israel's targeted killings in 2004 of Yassin and Yassin's successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Haniyeh, who escaped a similar attempt in June 2003, has been a member of the political leadership of Hamas since the 1990s.