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New Palestinian prime minister offers resignation-official
June 20, 2013 / 1:58 PM / 4 years ago

New Palestinian prime minister offers resignation-official

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas just two weeks after taking office, an official in his press office told Reuters on Thursday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during a joint news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

It was not immediately clear whether Abbas would accept the resignation by Hamdallah, an academic and political independent whose cabinet only met for the first time last week.

The government source told Reuters that Hamdallah made the abrupt, unexpected move because of a “dispute over his powers”.

Hamdallah’s cabinet consists overwhelmingly of members of the Fatah party led by Abbas, and political commentators immediately questioned how much room he would have to manoeuvre.

His predecessor, American-educated economist Salam Fayyad, resigned in April after six years in power defined by tough economic challenges and rivalries with Fatah politicians, who were eager to get their hands on the levers of power.

Since a brief civil war in 2007 between the Western-backed secular Fatah party and the Islamist group Hamas, Palestinians have had no functioning parliament or national elections.

Abbas exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank while Hamas, which won 2006 legislative polls, has its own prime minister in the Gaza Strip.

Reporting by Hamoudeh Hassan, Noah Browning, Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Editing by Jeffrey Heller

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