RAMALLAH – The Palestinian government was sworn in on Thursday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, weeks after caretaker prime minister Rami Hamdallah agreed to take up the post permanently.
The cabinet was unchanged from its line-up in June – when it was first appointed – but had to take the oath anew after a crisis later that month over what officials described as a "power struggle."
Hamdallah, who took over from predecessor Salam Fayyad and was sworn in as premier on June 6, resigned two weeks later because of in-fighting between him and his two deputies.
But Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas asked Hamdallah to stay on as caretaker prime minister until a new premier could be appointed.
Abbas then asked Hamdallah, on August 13, to take up the post again permanently and form a new government within five weeks, which Hamdallah accepted.
Hamdallah's two deputies at the centre of his decision to resign in June, Ziad Abu Amr and Mohammed Mustafa, retained their posts on Thursday.
His June 23 resignation was the second time in 10 weeks that a Palestinian prime minister had tendered his resignation over a power struggle.
In April, then premier Fayyad handed in his resignation following a power struggle with Abbas over the finance portfolio.
Hamdallah's June appointment was initially seen as an interim measure until Abbas could piece together a long-awaited national unity government foreseen by a 2011 reconciliation agreement between his Fatah movement and its Islamist rival Hamas, which rules Gaza.
Hamas, which refuses to recognise the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority prime minister, is strongly opposed to the resumed peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, complicating reconciliation efforts. -- afp