Fatah, Hamas to Hold Talks on New PM

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders will meet Tuesday to discuss nominations for the prime minister of a unity government, a Fatah official said Monday.

Fatah central committee member Jamal Muhesin told Ma’an that Azzam al-Ahmad, who leads Fatah’s reconciliation delegation, would discuss possible candidates with Moussa Abu Marzouq, deputy-chief of Hamas’ politiburo.

Al-Ahmad and Abu Marzouq will hand their recommendations to Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, Muhesin said.

Abbas and Mashaal will select a new prime minister by June 20, after discussing nominations with other factions, he said. Once the new premier is selected Abbas will issue a decree to hold a legislative council meeting, Muhesin added.

The new premier will lead a unity government of independent technocrats from the West Bank and Gaza charged with preparing for presidential, legislative and national council elections.

The new government will also oversee the reconstruction of Gaza, the implementation of the reconciliation agreement and the reunification of state institutions.

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation treaty in Cairo in May 2011 and agreed to form a government of technocrats to oversee elections.

In February, Abbas and Mashaal met in Doha and decided that Abbas would take the role of prime minister in the new government, but Hamas leaders in Gaza rejected the decision as unconstitutional.

On May 28, Haniyeh authorized the Central Elections Commission to start work updating the electoral roll in the Gaza Strip after a meeting with CEC chairman Hanna Nasser in Gaza City.

Hamas’ agreement to let the CEC work in Gaza was a condition set by Abbas for starting consultations on forming a unity government.

Hostility between Hamas and Fatah escalated in 2007 when fighting neared civil war in the Gaza Strip. Since then, Ismail Haniyeh has headed a Hamas government in Gaza while Salam Fayyad has run the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank.

(Ma’an)

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