Ma'an News Agency
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas will hold the post of prime minister in the coming technocrat transitional government, sources close to the matter have told Ma'an.

Current caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh - or an alternate Hamas figure chosen by the party - will both act as deputies to Abbas, the source revealed Wednesday night, adding that Fayyad will also assume the role of Minister of Finance.

Formerly rival factions Hamas and Fatah have reportedly agreed to the appointments, with the proviso that both former prime ministers will hold the same political weight within the new cabinet.

Officials had earlier announced that the government would be made up entirely of independent figures. There had also been controversy over the role of Fayyad, who has overseen a state-building program in the West Bank credited with generating much of the diplomatic support behind a Palestinian bid for independence in the coming months.

Parties are set to announce the new government in Cairo on Saturday, according to a Hamas official, while Fatah has said the new government will begin operations within the next week.

Talks between factions continue over the issue of merging security forces, with Ma'an's source saying the West Bank Major General Hazem Attallah will head a commission charged with the rebuilding effort under Egyptian supervision.

Attallah will also take the post of Minister of the Interior, the source said.

On the issue of political detainees, a major issue for Palestinians waiting to see concrete action from the unity agreement signed on 4 May, the source said "major changes" would be seen in the coming days.

Officials have said that a committee was formed to deal with the issue, and that a mass release is pending.


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