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Hamdallah: No dispute with Abbas

June 24, 2013 10:22 A.M. (Updated: June 25, 2013 12:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Caretaker premier Rami Hamdallah said there was no difference of opinions with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, hours after Abbas accepted his resignation on Sunday.

"President Abbas is our choice, the people's choice, and there is no dispute with him," he told a Ma'an reporter during a tour of West Bank hospitals with newly-appointed Health Minister Jawad Awwad.

Hamdallah said he would still be fulfilling his duties until a successor is appointed and that he remains in regular contact with PA ministries.

The premier said health care would be a priority for the new government.

Hamdallah will stay on as caretaker premier for the next five weeks until a successor is named, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen told Ma'an.

The former head of Al-Najah University tendered his resignation last week over what commentators have said was a dispute over the roles of his deputy premiers, who were appointed when the new government was formed.

Hamdallah originally retracted his resignation but on Sunday Abbas said he had formally accepted it.

It was the second time in 10 weeks that a Palestinian Authority prime minister had tendered his resignation over a power dispute, and Abbas now has 35 days to find a replacement.

Muhaisen said that during the five-week period, it is hoped that a unity government would be formed as part of a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas.

Neither party currently recognizes their respective governments.

If a national unity government is not formed before August 10, the "leadership will look for alternatives," Muhaisen said, without providing further details.

A source told Ma'an Sunday that PECDAR chief Mohammad Eshtayyeh may be likely to succed Hamdallah.
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