Palestinian PM willing to quit if president Abbas wishes: spokesperson

Amid a deepening of a decade-long split in Palestinian politics


Afp January 28, 2019
A handout picture provided by the Lebanese photo agency Dalati and Nohra on January 20, 2019 shows Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah addressing a regional economic summit in the Lebanese capital Beirut. PHOTO: AFP

RAMALLAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday offered to resign, his spokesperson said, amid efforts by president Mahmud Abbas to form a new government.

Such bids are seen as part of attempts by Abbas to further isolate his political rivals Hamas amid a deepening of a decade-long split in Palestinian politics.

Hamdallah has "put his government at the disposal of President Mahmud Abbas," the prime minister's spokesperson Yussef al-Mahmud said in a statement.

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It came after the central committee of Abbas's Fatah movement recommended late on Sunday the formation of a new government that would comprise members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hamdallah's West Bank-based government welcomed plans for a new government, his spokesperson said.

The movement Hamas is not part of the PLO.

It seized control of Gaza from Abbas's forces in a 2007 near civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.

Since then Abbas's governments have maintained limited self rule in the occupied West Bank, but the split between the two has remained.

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In June 2014 Hamdallah formed what was labelled a national unity government after a landmark reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas.

The deal has since broken down and the government has no control in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Abbas was elected in 2005 for an initial four-year term but no elections have been held since then due to the Fatah-Hamas split.

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