RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The new Palestinian prime minister submitted his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, after two weeks on the job, because of a conflict over authority.
It was unclear if Rami Hamdallah, a former university dean, would step down or was using the threat of resignation to obtain more powers from Abbas.
Abbas’ office declined comment, and there was no word if Abbas would accept Hamdallah’s resignation, potentially an embarrassment for the Palestinian president.
The prime minister heads the Palestinian Authority, the self-rule government for parts of the West Bank that handles day-to-day affairs of Palestinians.
Abbas is in charge overall and handles diplomacy, particularly efforts to restart negotiations with Israel on the terms of a Palestinian state. Those talks broke down in 2008, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to restart them.
Hamdallah took office June 6 after unexpectedly being plucked by Abbas from a career in academia to replace internationally known Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April. Abbas gave Hamdallah two deputies, one for political and one for economic affairs, apparently to make up for his lack of political experience.
Hamdallah’s office said Thursday that he submitted his resignation to Abbas because of a “conflict over authority,” but did not elaborate.
Abbas had frequently clashed with Fayyad, a political independent who served for six years and was respected by the West as a pragmatist. Leading figures of Abbas’ Fatah movement clamored for Fayyad to be replaced, arguing that the prime minister should be close to Fatah. Hamdallah’s appointment was seen as a bid by Abbas to consolidate power.