Palestinian PM Steps Down to Pave Way for Power Share

Move aimed at easing Palestinian reconciliation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 7, 2009 7:02 AM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 4, 2009.    (AP Photo/Atef Safadi)
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(Newser) – Palestine’s prime minister submitted his resignation today, a move that could help pave the way for an elusive power-sharing deal between Fatah moderates and Hamas militants. Salam Fayyad's decision was meant to build confidence before Palestinian reconciliation talks resume Tuesday in Cairo. He was appointed by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007 in response to the violent takeover of Gaza by Hamas.

Negotiators from Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah are trying to form a transition government ahead of elections by January 2010. Abbas said he hoped a transition government could be formed by the end of March; he said he’d step down after its formation, but no later than the end of March. Fayyad's resignation "comes to enhance and support the national dialogue to reach a national unity government," Abbas said. But Hamas seemed dismissive.