Palestinian legislators approve new cabinet for Abbas

February 24, 2005

Legislators in Ramallah have accepted a cabinet with few returning staff after twice rejecting Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia's more staid proposals.

Palestinian flag

"We have agreed in principle with Abu Mazen (Abbas) to let this crisis pass," Fatah MP Mohammed Horani said.

Members of the dominant Fatah party rejected two earlier line ups, before accepting the third late Wednesday after a further meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah controls 63 of the 85 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The legislators were dismayed by a lack of change in the initial offerings, reportedly heavy with old guard politicians from the previous administration. Approximately 70% of the 24 cabinet members are new ministers that have not served before. Reports differ, with Reuters claiming 17 ministers are new, while the Times of London claims 20.

Nasser Yousef has been accepted to take the security forces roughly from behind, and Mohammed Dahlan, currently a security advisor to Abbas, is also in the new line up. Abbas is reported by the CBC as eager to consolidate control in security as part of an effort to clean up corruption and tighten domestic oversight in the occupied territories.

Some of the politicians who will not be a part of the new cabinet include Nabil Shaath, the Foreign Minister, and Saeb Erekat, the Negotiations Minister.

The cabinet will now be brought to the Legislative Council on Thursday for a vote.