Palestinian Authority – New PM

There is a new government in the Palestinian National Authority.

As reported in an earlier post, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned in March prior to the beginning of negotiations between Fatah, President Mahmud Abbas’ party, and Hamas, the winners of the January 2006 parliamentary election.

Following a period of cohabitation government, then the civil war and the de facto partition of the Palestinian National Authority into the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza, the legitimacy of the Fatah government has been continually questioned by Hamas.

The question of a government for the Palestinian National Authority was central to the recent negotiations between Fatah and Hamas. A key element of any agreement would have been the appointment of a unity government. Prime Minister Fayyad tendered his resignation in March in order to try to facilitate such a government.

However, negotiations have not been going well. On 13 May, in the context of the likely failure to reach an agreement, President Abbas reappointed Salam Fayyad as head of government. This decision was opposed by Hamas and it was also opposed by factions within Fatah itself. At least one of the problems was that the negotiations were not yet terminated and Fayyad’s appointment was seen as making the likelihood of any agreement even more slim. As a result, and in a clear demonstration of the disunity within Fatah itself, Fayyad’s nomination was not approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Last Monday, though, negotiations between Fatah and Hamas broke down. As a result, Middle East Online reports that Fayyad was nominated again and this time his appointment has been ratified.

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