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Mahmoud Abbas accepts official’s resignation

RAMALLAH, West Bank — President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of his newly appointed prime minister on Sunday, a spokesman said, leaving his Palestinian Authority in disarray at a time when he is focusing on a US push to restart peace negotiations with Israel.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had served only two weeks when he abruptly resigned last week over a conflict of authority with his deputies.

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Abbas initially asked him to reconsider, but ultimately accepted the resignation and asked Hamdallah to stay on as head of a caretaker government until a replacement is found, Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.

Such a caretaker government could remain in place for weeks. There was no sign of a likely candidate to succeed Hamdallah.

Abbas may look for someone who has the blessing of the Western donor countries that prop up the Palestinian Authority, has experience in economic affairs, and is close to his Fatah movement.

Abbas appointed Hamdallah, a university president and political novice, this month in an apparent move to consolidate power.

Hamdallah replaced internationally known economist Salam Fayyad, who had clashed with Abbas.

The prime minister heads the Palestinian Authority, the self-rule government in parts of the West Bank that handles day-to-day affairs of Palestinians.

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