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Abbas to reshuffle Palestinian cabinet within 48 hours / Fayyad to remain prime minister, but cede Finance Ministry (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By ELHANAN MILLER 05/07/12)Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-to-reshuffle-palestinian-government/ TIMES OF ISRAEL TIMES OF ISRAEL Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will reshuffle the cabinet of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad within 48 hours, replacing nine ministers, Maan News Agency reported Monday.

The new cabinet will include a new finance minister, Dr. Nabil Qasis, former president of Bir Zeit University in Ramallah. Fayyad, a trusted western ally, had maintained the finance portfolio throughout his tenure as prime minister.

In addition to Qasis, four new ministers will be introduced to the government, including Anwar Dudin as health minister, Ali Mihna as justice minister, Walid Assaf as agriculture minister and Safaa Nasr A-Din as communications minister.

The new government is highly technocratic, featuring former academics with no party affiliation.

Abbas had previously announced his intention to nominate a transitional government tasked with preparing the ground for legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank and Gaza later this year.

On Monday, Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum called on Abbas to present the new cabinet to the Palestinian Legislative Council for a vote of confidence, saying that Hamas will not accept any cabinet that is not recognized by the Palestinian parliament. It was unclear, however, whether the new ministerial nominations were coordinated with Hamas.

In February, Abbas agreed to take upon himself the role of prime minister in an agreement reached with Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal under the auspices of Qatar. But in Mondayís reshuffle, Fayyad was expected to retain his title as prime minister. (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 05/07/12)

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