Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, head of al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, as the next prime minister, as the term of Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad formally ended.
Al-Hamadallah, a linguistics professor of Nablus’ Al-Najah University, was assigned by Abbas at a meeting at his headquarters in Ramallah Sunday to form a new government, adding that Al-Hamdallah accepted the designation.
“President Abbas has asked me to form a new government and I have accepted,” Hamdallah, 54, a member of Abbas’s Fatah party who has also headed the Palestinian Stock Exchange, told the AFP news agency.
“The government will be formed in the coming days. Most ministers of the outgoing government will stay and I will bring in a new finance minister,” he added.
This move follows the resignation of former government’s Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in April after months of tension with Abbas.
Hamdallah, received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom and has been president of An-Najah University since 1998. He has also served as the secretary general of the central elections commission since 2002.
In the wake of Fayyad’s resignation, Haaretz reported the leading candidates to replace him were Hamdallah and Mohammad Mustafa, head of the national investment fund but according to sources close to Abbas told Haaretz Sunday night that Mustafa would probably be appointed Hamdallah’s deputy.
Hamdallah’s appointment comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week urged Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace negotiations.