Abbas intervenes to save proposed Cabinet

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The Independent Online

The dominant Fatah group in the Palestinian parliament finally agreed to back a largely new cabinet after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, warned them not to prolong a damaging political crisis.

The dominant Fatah group in the Palestinian parliament finally agreed to back a largely new cabinet after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, warned them not to prolong a damaging political crisis.

The Fatah decision, if ratified by the full parliament today, should break the deadlock that threatened the future of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmad Qureia, after he failed to win support for two separate proposed cabinet lists.

The row had threatened to become a serious embarrassment to the Palestinian Authority and its President on the eve of next week's international meeting in London to bolster support for the new Palestinian leadership.

Mr Qureia, seen as a member of the Fatah "old guard", which dominated the corruption-tainted Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat, first ran into trouble when he presented a cabinet with only five new faces in what his opponents claimed were "cosmetic" changes.

He then went into reverse with a cabinet list largely composed of "technocratic" figures outside the PLC, last elected in 1996. This was welcomed by some reformist politicians, but infuriated some Fatah politicians fearing loss of their influence.

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