New Palestinian PM Slow to Form Cabinet

(New York Times) The new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen),appears unlikely to meet a Thursday deadline for establishing a new government. Those close to him say he wants to overhaul the cabinet, bringing in technocrats and rooting out endemic corruption in the Palestinian Authority. But a major shake-up would mean dismissing longtime loyalists of Mr. Arafat, who wants only minor adjustments to a cabinet he formed less than a year ago, Palestinians said. "I'm pleased with the new leader of the Palestinian Authority," President Bush said Tuesday in Northern Ireland, at a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. "I look forward to him finally putting his cabinet in place so we can release the road map." But too warm a welcome from the West could work against Abbas, Palestinians said. Arafat is likely to resent Abbas if he jets off to Western capitals while Arafat remains confined to his battered compound in Ramallah. Abbas, who is seldom seen in public, "needs to establish his Palestinian constituency and gain legitimacy here before he is seen in Washington, London, and Paris," said Mahdi Abdul Hadi, a Palestinian political scientist.

2003-04-09 00:00:00

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