RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Two weeks after Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned, President Mahmoud Abbas, whose government is based in the West Bank, announced Saturday that he has started consultations over forming a new national unity government.
Abbas said he was following the timetable his Fatah party had reached with its archrival, the Islamist group Hamas, which says that he should start consultations on forming a unity government as soon as the Palestinian elections commission completed an update of its voter registry.
The elections commission said on April 10 that it has finished its work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and therefore was ready to hold elections three months after Abbas decides on a date.
But Abbas’ announcement did not please Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. It immediately described his declaration, made on the official news agency Wafa, as “unilateral” and said he should have consulted with it first.