A university academic has just become the new Palestinian prime minister. Rami Hamdallah is the head of al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus as well as running the electoral commission.
He replaces Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April but stayed on in a caretaker role until Sunday night.
But it is feared his appointment could be seen as unilateral and may threaten attempts at reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, including last month’s decision to form a unity government.
“This government is a clone of previous governments,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “This government will not fix the problems and will not achieve unity for the Palestinian people. It was not submitted to the legislative council so it is illegal. In addition, it does not include all the different sections of the Palestinian people according to the Doha and Cairo agreements.”
Consultations began in April to form a unity government. It followed a long-delayed reconciliation deal between the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas and the rival organisation Hamas. Palestinian law stipulates a new government is formed within a certain timeframe.