Palestinian prime minister’s political future uncertain
RAMALLAH, West Bank – The political future of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad appeared shaky Thursday amid reports that he will resign after growing tired of constant battles with his rivals.
Fayyad has come close to stepping down before, only to be pressed by President Mahmoud Abbas to stay on as leader of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority government.
Though Fayyad, a Western-educated independent, is popular among donors and the international community, he is resented by many leaders of Fatah, the main political faction in the West Bank.
Sources close to Fayyad said he has recently become tired of what he considers plots by Fatah to shift blame onto him for the Palestinian Authority’s chronic cash shortages. They said he had already offered his resignation to Abbas.
Although Abbas has asked Fayyad to stay on in the past, their relationship has been strained and worsened last month when Fayyad accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Nabeel Kassis in spite of objections from Abbas, who was abroad at the time.
Fayyad had previously submitted the resignation of his full government several times in order to allow for the formation of a national unity government between Fatah and its chief rival, the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip.
Even if Abbas does not accept Fayyad’s resignation at this time, the prime minister’s future in the government may be short-lived. If Fatah and Hamas succeed in the elusive goal of forming a unity government, Fayyad is not expected to keep his post.
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