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Hamas Seems to Go Alone Despite Pressure
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Despite external pressure, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which enjoys majority in the parliament, seems to go alone to form a new cabinet.

Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haneya, leader of Hamas who received orders from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to form the government, announced on Saturday that he would present the cabinet to Abbas on Sunday for approval.

It seems that Haneya was quite satisfied with his relations with Abbas, as he told a press conference in Gaza "our relations and negotiations went in a calm and truly way."

"I think Abbas will approve this government and I hope that we can go forward," he said.

Actually, Haneya does not need approval from Abbas before the new government should be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), according to the Basic Law, considered as the constitution.

Article 66 of the Basic Law defines that "the prime minister goes directly to the PLC asking for approval."

At the moment, Hamas has to go alone to form the government with some independents and academicians, as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is not certain about its position on whether to join the government.

Farahat assad, spokesman of Hamas in the West Bank told Xinhua that PFLP agreed to be part of the government, but Khaledah Jarar, parliament member from PFLP said "we do not decide yet."

According to Jarar, there are some PFLP leaders who refused to join the cabinet and but some agreed. "For that we are still discussing our position," Jarar said.

Some sources close to PFLP said that PFLP wants three portfolios in the cabinet, but Hamas only agreed to offer two. Some sources also told Xinhua that the mainstream Fatah movement contacted PFLP, persuading it not to participate in the government.

Azmi Shaibe, independent member in the previous parliament, said that without any faction in the cabinet, Hamas will face a complicated situation.

"Hamas could go by itself, but it needs some other factions in the government to face the Arab world as a government representing all the Palestinians. If it has no other faction to be partner, it will be Hamas-government, even with some independents," he said.

PFLP is seen as a senior faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). If PFLP goes with Hamas, which refuses till now to join the PLO, it will be difficult for PFLP to deal with other PLO factions.

A senior Fatah official expected that Hamas could not run the cabinet for more than six months, while Shaibe said, "if Hamas could not do well and keeps acting as Hamas-government, not a Palestinian government, it will face a big problem specially concerning ties with the rest of the world, thus causing an international siege."

"The Hamas-led government will be responsible for daily life of the Palestinians, so Hamas has to coordinate with the Israeli side, " Shaibe said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2006)

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