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Palestinians name academic as new prime minister

June 02, 2013|By Edmund Sanders
  • Rami Hamdullah, president of Al Najah University, was named Sunday as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, succeeding Salam Fayyad.
Rami Hamdullah, president of Al Najah University, was named Sunday as the… (Alaa Badarneh / EPA )

JERUSALEM — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed university dean Rami Hamdulla as the Palestinian Authority’s new prime minister Sunday night, replacing Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April, officials said.

Hamdullah, who is dean of Al-Najah University in the West Bank, is expected to form a new Palestinian government in the coming weeks. Though he has worked on Palestinian elections, Hamdullah has no previous government service.

His appointment is intended to be temporary because Palestinian factions have vowed to form a new unity government by the end of summer in preparation for new national elections.

But reconciliation efforts by Abbas’ Fatah Party, which controls the West Bank, and its rival Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza Strip, have failed repeatedly in the past, so it remains unclear how long Hamdullah’s government will remain in power.

Fayyad resigned after serving in the post since 2007. Though popular among Westerns donors, Fayyad, a political independent, never enjoyed strong support among the Palestinian public, and both Fatah and Hamas resented his influence.

The shake-up comes as U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry attempts to restart stalled peace talks with Israel.

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