Fatah accused of 'power grab' as Ramallah prepares new government 'without Hamas'

Fatah accused of 'power grab' as Ramallah prepares new government 'without Hamas'
A Palestinian government is expected to be formed by next week but will likely exclude supporters of rival faction Hamas.
2 min read
08 April, 2019
Shtayyeh has been asked by Abbas to form a government [Getty]

Palestinian prime minister-designate Mohammed Shtayyeh will announce the make-up of his new government in the coming days, which rival faction Hamas have already accused of being a "power grab" by Fatah.

The new Ramallah-based administration is likely to exclude all members of Hamas, which rules the Palestinian Gaza territories.

Shtayyeh has until 14 April to form a new government, although analysts say that decision-making power remains with 84-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas who has been in power since 2005.

Abbas on 10 March told Shtayyeh to form a new government, replacing Rami Hamdallah's technocratic administration which had the nominal backing of Hamas. 

"This is an unsurprising move by the Ramallah-based government, which has clamped down on any attempt of Hamas consolidating any political power or influence since 2006. Despite various reconciliation deals, one of which was brokered by Hamdallah in 2014, the Palestinian factions have continued to contend for power," said The New Arab's Diana Alghoul. 

"Hamas are particularly sensitive to losing anymore political leverage in Palestine, especially after a brief period of protests against them inside besieged Gaza Strip - considered their stronghold - last month."

Five smaller factions will also join Fatah in the new government, officials said, while the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) reportedly refused to take part.

Deputy president Mahmoud Aloul told AFP a meeting would be held Monday evening between Shtayyeh and Abbas to decide on candidates for the remaining ministries.

Hamas has criticised the formation of the government, accusing Fatah of a power grab.

Hamas won elections in 2007, with a near-civil war breaking out as Fatah tried to seize control of the Palestinian territories. Hamas took charge of Gaza following clashes with Fatah supporters.

Multiple reconciliation attempts between the two sides have failed with Fatah taking charge of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Former government minister Shtayyeh has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in US-brokered talks with Israel and viewed as a key ally of Abbas.