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Abbas names university president as prime minister

June 2, 2013 8:50 P.M. (Updated: June 6, 2013 12:56 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Abbas is set to appoint Rami Hamdallah as the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, officials told Ma'an Sunday.

Hamdallah, who is president of An-Najah University, will replace outgoing prime minister Salam Fayyad, who resigned on April 13 after months of tension with Abbas.

Kamal al-Sharafati will replace Majida al-Masri as PA minister of social affairs, the officials added.

"President Abbas has asked me to form a new government and I have accepted," Hamdallah told AFP. "The government will be formed in the coming days," said Hamdallah, who also headed the Central Election Commission and the Palestinian Stock Exchange.

"Most ministers of the outgoing government will stay and I will bring in a new finance minister," he added.

Fayyad's role as caretaker premier drew to a close on Sunday.

Hamdallah, born in 1958, is a political independent who received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom.

He has been president of An-Najah University since 1998.

On April 27, Abbas announced that consultations had started to form a unity government under his own leadership, in accordance with a long-delayed reconciliation deal between his Fatah faction and the rival Islamist movement Hamas.

That five-week period ends at midnight on Sunday.

Last month, Fatah and Hamas agreed to set a three-month timetable for forming a unity government.

Establishing a unity government and holding elections was one of the aims of a reconciliation deal the two nationalist movements signed two years ago, but it has never been implemented.

AFP contributed to this report
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