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In office two weeks, Palestinian prime minister submits resignation

June 20, 2013|By Maher Abukhater | This post has been updated. See note below for details.
  • Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center, shown arriving for his swearing in ceremony in Ramallah, reportedly offered his resignation Thursday. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas most likely would not accept the resignation, sources said.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center, shown arriving for his swearing… (Alaa Badarneh / European…)

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in office for only two weeks, submitted a resignation on Thursday citing “infringement on his authority” as the reason, sources at his office have confirmed.
 
It was not immediately known if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had accepted the resignation, but the sources said Abbas most likely would not and would find a way to resolve any conflict that prompted this action by the prime minister.

Hamdallah's office confirmed Thursday to the Associated Press that he had submitted his resignation to Abbas but did not elaborate.

[Updated, 1:30 p.m. June 20: Nabil abu Rudaineh, spokesman for Abbas, said in a brief statement published on the official WAFA news agency that Hamdallah submitted his resignation to Abbas and that “the president will look into the resignation.”]

Hamdallah, 54, is believed to have resigned because of differences with his two deputies, Muhammad Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amr, who were imposed on him by Abbas. The two are close associates of the Palestinian president.
 
Hamdallah might have resigned so quickly -- knowing Abbas would not accept it -- because he wanted to assert himself as prime minister in the face of his deputies' influence.
 
Hamdallah is a political independent but is believed to be close to Fatah, Abbas’ political party. He was president of Najah University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus when he was asked by Abbas to form a new government after the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

While Hamdallah had kept most of Fayyad’s cabinet ministers, he was nevertheless expected to end his post by mid-August if Fatah and its rival Hamas agree on forming a national unity government.

The incoming administration is expected to be headed by Abbas and composed of independent technocrats to prepare for presidential and legislative elections.

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