Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accepts resignation of PM Hamdallah

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accepts resignation of PM Hamdallah
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in a development which will likely complicate efforts at reconciliation with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Abbas accepted the government’s resignation and ordered it to continue performing its duties until a new cabinet can be formed, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

"The prime minister and his ministers welcome the Fatah Central Committee's decision to form a new government," Palestinian Authority government spokesperson Yusuf al-Mahmoud said in a statement earlier. "Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has placed his government at the disposal of the President of the Authority," he added, hinting at impending resignations within the cabinet.

Hamdallah’s resignation came just days after Abbas asked him to step down, according to reports. The move will likely hamper an already delicate relationship with Gaza’s Hamas rules, but Abbas does not want Hamas to be excluded from the new government to be formed.

"We hope that all Palestinian factions will participate in this (new) government and I appeal to the Hamas movement to participate," he said.

Hamas officials, however, have described the move as an attempt to exclude the group from Palestinian politics.

"The announcement of the formation of a new government is a recognition of the tragedies and disasters caused by the government of al Hamdallah, and there is no legitimacy for any future government without national consensus," Sami Abu Zuhri, official spokesman for Hamas, wrote on Twitter.

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Hamdallah headed the national unity government formed in 2015 and led Fatah’s reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007. The two groups signed an agreement two years ago which called for Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to gradually resume governance over Gaza.

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