RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a new government headed by a politically inexperienced academic in what is seen as an attempt by Abbas to consolidate power.
The outgoing prime minister, Salam Fayyad, was a political independent who often clashed with Abbas but had the backing of the West because of a successful cleanup of public finances in the West Bank.
Fayyad resigned in April. His six-year term irritated many key figures in Abbas' Fatah movement who felt one of their own should be prime minister.
The new prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, is close to Fatah and is expected to carry out Abbas' instructions. He was given two deputies, including one for economic affairs, apparently to make up for his lack of experience.