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Middle East

Prime minister? What prime minister? Palestinians unmoved by Hamdullah appointment

media Rami Hamdullah Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

 In a surprise appointment late on Sunday night, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas named Rami Hamdullah as the new prime minister. His appointment brings an end to the “caretaker” premiership of Salam Fayyad, known for his economic policies and increasingly poor relations with Abbas.

Hamdullah is the president of Al-Najah University which is close to Nablus.

His appointment is supposedly a step on the road to the formation of a Fatah-Hamas unity government, which would then permit the first general elections since 2006.

Audio report - Palestine new Prime Minister 04/06/2013 - by Ruth Michaelson Listen

Yet, with another deadline for the formation of a unity government fast approaching, many find that Palestinian democracy is on the wane, especially with the appointment of a relatively unknown candidate.

Many Palestinians are not even aware that they have a new prime minister.  

“New prime minister? I didn’t know there was a new prime minister!" commented a business owner in central Ramallah, who asked not to be named. "Even when Salam Fayyad resigned I didn’t hear until two weeks after his resignation, and I didn’t know why he resigned and I don’t know why we have a new prime minister. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Others were sceptical about what Hamdullah could achieve.

"Provided that Hamdullah gets the help he needs from Mahmoud Abbas, he could achieve all the things he needs to do within a couple of months. But without that support, he will fail, and quickly, ” commented pharmacist Ahmad Dawabsheh.

Hamdullah is currently forming a new government, with the majority of the outgoing ministers expected to stay in their current posts.

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