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Terrorism & Security

Palestinian PM announces full cabinet overhaul

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced the dissolution of the cabinet Monday, ceding to demands for reform in what may be an effort to stave off protests.

By Taylor BarnesCorrespondent / February 14, 2011

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (L) hands his government's resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah in this February 14 handout picture released by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO). The Palestinian cabinet resigned on Monday and Fayyad will select new ministers at the request of Abbas, officials said.

Thaer Ganaim/PPO/Handout/Reuters

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The Palestinian Authority cabinet was dissolved Monday ahead of long-overdue elections to be held by September. The move appears to be a bid to placate Palestinians and avoid the protests that are occurring across the Arab world, although political rivals of the PA express doubt that a cabinet changeover will bring real reform.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whose government holds power in the West Bank, announced the dissolution of the 24-member cabinet and is expected to replace the ministers within six weeks, according to the Associated Press.

The cabinet reshuffling has long been demanded by Mr. Fayyad and others in the Fatah movement. Only 16 of the 24 ministerial positions were actually staffed, with Reuters reporting it was "a cabinet regarded by many as dysfunctional."

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The elections for the presidency and the parliament promised by September would be the first since 2006, which preceded the Fatah-Hamas split, according to Bloomberg. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has already said it won’t take part in elections and that the two factions should settle their differences before elections are held.

“The Palestinian Authority is trying, in a pre-emptive decision, to contain any future protest in the West Bank,” Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, told Bloomberg. “It is trying to say, we welcome any elections, we want elections, and it is Hamas that will not cooperate.”

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