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13 Nov, 2006 10:20

Palestinian factions agree on new candidate for PM

Palestinian factions agree on new candidate for PM

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed on a new candidate for Prime Minister – former head of Gaza's Islamic University, Mohammed Shabir who is set to replace present Premier, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

With a freeze on international aid crippling the Palestinian economy, the government has been under pressure to act.

Current Premier, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, said he's prepared to step down if it means the West ends its blockade.

The economic sanctions came into force in March, following Hamas' election victory.

The movement refuses to recognise Israel and is regarded by the EU and U.S. as a terrorist organisation.

It's not yet clear whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will endorse Mohammed Shabir as Prime Minister.

But Abbas has expressed hope that a new government will be in place next month.