Re-appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad requested Sunday another two weeks in which to form a new government, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers said.
Na’im Abu Al-Hums told Ma’an that the request had been made to President Mahmoud Abbas, who agreed to Fayyad’s request, allowing the independent politician to continue a series of consultations with a range of Palestinian political parties.
Fayyad has been conducting the consultations for three weeks already, since he submitted the resignation of his cabinet on 14 February, and was re-appointed as prime minister with a mandate to re-assemble a cabinet.
The interim period has seen the resigned cabinet continue to carry out its duties, but without weekly cabinet meetings.
In what appeared to be a solo move, Fayyad suggested two weeks ago that Hamas officials be included in the cabinet, a plan that was slammed by Fatah as out of spirit with stymied unity plans.
On Sunday night, however, Fatah officials said they had “given full authorization” to Abbas to allow Fayyad to for a new government in which “all PLO factions would participate,” member of the Fatah Central Committee Hassan Ash-Sheikh said.
Hamas is not a member of the PLO.
Ash-Sheikh said central committee respected Abbas’ position on the formation of a new government, and supported his vision.
The official noted Fatah supported for the continued role of prime minister for Fayyad.
Some Fatah officials, despite support for the new cabinet as it is constructed by Fayyad, objected to the time extension.
Fatah official Hassan Khresha said the delay could weaken confidence in the constitutionality of the new government, and added that the priority should be given to ending division, not setting up a new PA cabinet.
Fatah and Hamas quarreled in 2006 after the Islamist party took a solid victory in the legislative elections. A unity government fell apart and subsequent clashes between the security forces of each party saw the movements split and form independent governments in the West Bank and Gaza respectively.
No elections have been held since the split, with Hamas refusing to allow Palestinian Authority elections committee officials into Gaza, saying the party did not trust Fatah enough to ensure that the elections would not be rigged against Hamas.
With no elections, the mandate of the president, legislative council, municipal leaders and cabinet have ended, raising concerns about government legitimacy as the Mideast sees a wave of popular protests calling for the ouster of un-representative leaders.