Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) has submitted a letter of resignation to Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday afternoon.
Abbas accepted the resignation and appointed Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Sha’ath as interim prime minister.
Senior PA sources said Qureia was upset over the fact that he was placed only fourth on Fatah’s list for the Palestinian parliament, which was submitted on Wednesday. Sources close to Qureia blamed Abbas’ associates for “showing Qureia the way out.” Abbas' aides, however, denied that there was a crisis.
Should the resignation hold, it may pave the way for the return of several prominent Fatah members who recently joined Marwan Barghouti’s alternative list of candidates ahead of the elections.
Barghouti, the West Bank Tanzim leader currently jailed in Israel, heads Fatah’s official candidate list for parliament, alongside senior figures such as former PA Minister for Civilian Affairs Mohammad Dahlan and National Security Advisor Jibril Rajoub.
Barghouti’s wife, attorney Fadwa Barghouti, submitted Wednesday a list of candidates for a new party to the election committee in the Gaza Strip.
However, only one hour earlier the Fatah's official list, al-Watan (homeland), was also submitted, causing a lot of confusion in the Palestinian political arena, as Barghouti's name also appears at the top of that list.
'This is not an election maneuver'
The Fatah list was submitted by Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa and other senior Fatah members. Barghouti's name is followed by only two veteran members: Prime Minister Qureia, who is in the fourth spot, and Intisar al-Wazir, member of the Fatah's central committee. The rest of the candidates are mainly activists and senior members of the young generation.
It is still unclear how the central election committee will respond to Barghouti's name appearing on both lists.
Prisoner Affairs Minister Sufian Abu Zaydeh, a member of Barghouti's new party, told Ynet that "our list is the one which expresses the desire of the majority of Fatah members. It comes to say that it is time for the young members to fulfill their duties inside the movement and on its institutions."
Abu Zaydeh chose to join Barghouti's list and to compete against the Fatah movement in the upcoming elections.
Abu Zaydeh made it clear that "this is not an election maneuver." However, he estimated that after the elections, the two bodies will unite and resume their cooperation under one Fatah movement.