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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Palestinian prime minister disbands Cabinet

JERUSALEM — In a second shakeup in three days, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Monday he would disband his Cabinet and form a new one in the coming three weeks.

Many were surprised by the decision since the Palestine Liberation Organization, which created the authority, announced Saturday it would hold long-delayed presidential and legislative elections within the next eight months, potentially replacing the government.

Palestinian officials presented the Cabinet reshuffling as a move to quell growing public calls for democratic reform, which elsewhere in the Arab world have already led to regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia.

“”But even before Egypt, there has been a consensus for some time that the Cabinet needed to change,”” said government spokesman Ghassan Khatib, noting that several positions have been left vacant for months. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “”believes we are about to enter a new period with new challenges, and we need a new and fresh Cabinet.””

In addition to preparing for elections, the Palestinian Authority is planning for a possible U.N. campaign this fall to seek international recognition of a Palestinian state.

Fatah, the dominant PLO political party, has been pushing for a new Cabinet for months, complaining that the party is underrepresented in the current government. Fatah currently occupies 11 of 21 Cabinet posts.

Some Fatah leaders have lobbied to unseat Fayyad from one or both of his roles as prime minister and finance minister because Fayyad is not a member of Fatah.

But Abbas has asked Fayyad, an independent and former World Bank economist, to remain as prime minister in the next government. And the international community, which donates more than half of the Palestinian Authority’s budget, has signaled that it would not support replacing Fayyad as head of the Finance Ministry, where he is credited with improving the administration’s transparency and accountability.

Fatah leaders are still grappling with the party’s reputation for corruption and nepotism that plagued the Palestinian Authority since its creation in 1994.

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