Abbas Picks New Prime Minister

RAMALLAH (Reuters/Hamodia) -

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has named a new prime minister to replace Western-favoured economist Salam Fayyad who quit in April and formally leaves office this month, a Palestinian official told Reuters on Sunday.

Palestinian academic Rami Hamdallah, president of An-Najah University in Shechem, was tapped to succeed Fayyad. Born in 1958, the British-educated Hamdallah has been  president of the university since 1998. Like his predecessor, he is an economist.

Hamdallah is not known to be affiliated with any Palestinian political faction, The Jerusalem Post reported.

He served as secretary-general of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission.

A PLO official in Ramallah expressed surprise at the appointment of Hamdallah, saying Abbas did not consult with the PLO leadership before making his announcement.

Mohamed Abu Ramadan, the current Minister for Planning, had been mentioned in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds as the leading candidate for prime minister

During the meeting in Ramallah, Abbas said he remained committed to reconciliation agreements with Hamas. But Hamas, responding to the appointment of Hamdallah, said that the new government does not represent the Palestinian people and was “illegal.”