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Official: Abbas 'in final stages' of selecting unity govt technocrats

May 21, 2014 10:23 A.M. (Updated: May 22, 2014 11:19 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has received a list of suggested officials for the Palestinian unity government and will inaugurate the government by May 29, an official said late Tuesday.

Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef told Ma'an that Abbas is in "the final stages of selecting cabinet members for the technocratic government in which he will be prime minister."

The cabinet will be made up of "15 or 16" ministers, Yousef said.

He said three nonpartisan candidates have been suggested for each position and Abbas will choose one of the three.

One of the suggestions for foreign minister is Ziad Abu Amr, a Gaza-born politician who currently serves as deputy prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Yousef told Ma'an.

The Hamas official added that various nonpartisan PA officials were likely candidates for unity government posts. However, none of the members of the current Gaza government are likely to be chosen, as they are affiliated to Hamas.

On Sunday, Hamas said that a "consensus government" would be named by the PLO and Hamas within days.

Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last month with the PLO in a surprise move which aims to overcome a years-long intra-Palestinian split.

Under their April 23 reconciliation deal, the two sides are to form an "independent government" of technocrats, headed by Abbas, paving the way for long-delayed elections.
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