Abbas Postpones New Gov't.

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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas recanted an announcement earlier this week of the formation of a new government.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a close aid to Abbas, said the PA president had planned to announce the new government this past Tuesday.

Threats of open revolt by senior Fatah members forced Abbas to tell Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to postpone forming the new government.

Senior Fatah officials have been pressuring Abbas and Fayyad for ministerial appointments in the new government, according to Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh.

Fayyad, who leads the independent Third Way list, has refused to form another Fatah-dominated government, choosing only one or two Fatah officials to serve in lower ministerial positions.

Senior Fatah officials, who are both the largest and ruling PA faction, are reportedly angry with Fayyad's intention to exclude them.

Some of them warned that Fayyad's plan would bring an intifada (armed uprising) against him and Abbas and are demanding that a Fatah member replace Fayyad as prime minister.

Meanwhile, Abbas's plan to host the Fatah faction's general conference on July 1 angered Fatah members in other Arab countries who would be unable to attend because of Israeli security restrictions.

Many of the Fatah-affiliated Arabs living abroad, such as Farouk Qadoumi and Maher Abu Ghnaim, are against any normalization with Israel, according to Toameh.

Fatah members were also angry with Abbas's choice of conference venues - Bethlehem or Jericho.

The long-awaited general conference is expected to help the upcoming generation of Fatah members to rid the party of the old guard.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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