Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki (1st R) shaks hands with President Mahmoud Abbas (2nd R) after swearing in before Abbas during an official ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 6, 2013. The inauguration ceremonies of the 15th government in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)'s history took place in Abbas' office on Thursday. The new Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his government took oath before President Mahmoud Abbas. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)
RAMALLAH -- The new Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his government took oath before President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday.
The inauguration ceremonies of the 15th government in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)'s history took place in Abbas ' office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
It came into being amid boycott by most of factions for not being part of national reconciliation deals. The Palestinian parliament, disabled due to the rift between Abbas' Fatah party and Gaza's Hamas rulers, would not be able to convene and grant confidence to the government.
Hamdallah, who was assigned by Abbas to form the government last Sunday, is heading the 24-member cabinet with two deputies; one of them is Ziad Abu Amr, a native of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
More than half of the ministers of the former government, which had been led by Salam Fayad for six years, retained their posts, including Said Abu Ali, the interior minister.
Shukri Bshara was appointed in the new government for the finance ministry, the portfolio that sparked tension between Abbas and Fayyad and prompted the latter to resign in April. Confidence between Abbas and Fayyad, the Western-educated economist, began fading after Fayyad accepted the resignation of the finance minister without consulting with Abbas.
Hamas, which took over Gaza after routing pro-Abbas forces in 2007, considers Hamdallah's government as illegal, same as Fayyad' s government, which was first installed in the West Bank as a response to Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza.
Hamas won the legislative elections in 2006.
Egypt and Qatar brokered reconciliation agreements between Hamas and Fatah to end the split between the two Palestinian territories, but the feuding Palestinian factions failed to form a unity government preparing for elections as the deals stipulated.