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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

Palestinian cabinet quits ahead of anticipated reshuffle

Mahmoud Abbas accepts the resignation of Salam Fayyad’s cabinet – possibly prompted by the unrest in the region.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will now have six weeks to form a new cabinet, ahead of general elections in September.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will now have six weeks to form a new cabinet, ahead of general elections in September.
Image: Virginia Mayo/AP

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation of the entire cabinet of the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, ahead of a widely-anticipated cabinet reshuffle.

AP reports that the resignation of Fayyad’s government had been apparently inspired by the recent political unrest in the wider Middle East, which has seen Egypt and Yemen change leaders, and many other countries jolted by major civil unrest.

Fayyad will now be given six weeks to name a new administration, which aides say will be dominated by technocrats who will aim to build up Palestinian governmental institutions ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections in September.

Extending government institutions and giving them a more sound authoritative footing is seen as a major tactic in preventing any similar public uprising in Palestinian territories, already rocked by the collapse of peace talks with Israel and the publication of the ‘Palestine Papers’ detailing peace negotiations.

A government spokesman said, however, that the reshuffle had been planned for some time and was not related to the current political climate.

The Guardian explains that this year’s elections are long overdue, with the last parliamentary election held in 2006, while Abbas’s own mandate as president expired two years ago – but new presidential elections were delayed given the region’s instability.

Since then Abbas has changed Palestinian electoral law by decree – a move which caused Hamas, which controls the Gaza region, to declare the elections invalid. Elections, therefore, will only take place in the West Bank area governed by Fayyad’s administration.

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Gavan Reilly

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