Palestinian president appoints ally Shtayyeh as new PM

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on Sunday, a senior official said, in a move seen as part of efforts to further isolate Hamas.

Abbas asked Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the Palestinian president's Fatah party, to form a new government, Fatah vice president Mahmoud al-Aloul told AFP.

Official Palestinian news agency WAFA also reported the move.

Some analysts view bringing in Shtayyeh to replace outgoing prime minister Rami Hamdallah as part of Abbas's efforts to further isolate his political rivals from Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.

Shtayyeh, born in 1958, is a long-term Abbas ally, while Hamdallah was politically independent.

The previous government was formed during a period of improved relations and had the backing of Hamas.

This government is instead likely to be dominated by Fatah, though other smaller parties will be represented. Hamas is not expected to be included.