Palestinian emergency cabinet sworn in


Ramallah : The new Palestinian emergency cabinet headed by Salam Fayyadh took the oath of office before President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday commencing officially its tough job.

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The cabinet consists of 11 ministers — all independent technocrats and businessmen.

Fayyadh will maintain the portfolios of finance and foreign affairs along with the premiership. The controversial interior portfolio was entrusted to ex-commander of the national security apparatus, retired general Abdul-Razzaq Al-Yahya who served as minister of interior in 2002 during the government of then Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

The portfolios of local government and agriculture were entrusted to Zyad Al-Bandak, a businessman from Bethlehem, the West Bank. Kholod De’bes retained her post in the sacked national unity government as minister of tourism and will double as minister of woman affairs.

The portfolios of national economy, public works, housing and communications were entrusted to Kamal Hassouna, a businessman from Hebron, the West Bank. Lamis Al-Alami, a well-known academician, took over the portfolios of education and higher education.

The portfolios of planning and labour were entrusted to Samir Abdullah, an academician who served as director of the Palestinian Institute of Economic Policies.

Fatehi Abdullah will serve as minister of health, while Riyadh Al-Maleki, close to the Popular Front for Palestine Liberation (PFPL), will serve as minister of information and minister of justice.

Ramallah Mufti Jamal Bwatnah will take charge of the Ministry of Awqaf and Social Affairs. The Ministry of Transport and Communications was entrusted to Mohammad Abu-Daqqah while journalist writer Ashraf Al-Ajrami will take charge of the portfolios of youth and sports, and detainee affairs.

The emergency cabinet will include new names to be disclosed in the proper time, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Authority presidency Al-Tayyeb Abdul-Rahim said during the swearing-in ceremony.