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Abbas Reelected as Fatah Chief, Reaches PM Deal
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Fatah Revolutionary Council on Sunday overwhelmingly reelected Mahmoud Abbas as its general leader, official Palestinian sources said.

The sources said that the movement's meeting was held in al-Muqataa, the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Revolutionary Council of Fatah also decided to form a high committee to revive the movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

After late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat passed away two years ago, Farouq al-Qadoumi was elected as the Secretary General of Fatah, with Abbas named as chief of Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee.

Abbas is now the chief of Fatah movement, chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, and the president of the PNA inheriting these three titles from Arafat.

The Fatah movement, which had been the ruling party for a decade, was defeated by Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Jan. 25th legislative elections held in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas won the elections and formed the government for the first time since Hamas was established in December 1987.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip commemorated on Saturday and Sunday the two-year anniversary of late leader Yasser Arafat's death.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted a candidate nominated by the Hamas movement to lead a national unity government, the Islamic Online website reported on Sunday, quoting well-informed sources.

The nominee is Mohammed Shbair, former president of the Islamic University in Gaza, who is close to Hamas but not a member, a fact certain to dispel some tensions over the group's aims.

The website did not elaborate on the sources, but said they were close to Abbas.

The report also quoted Nezzar Rayan, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, as saying that the ruling Hamas movement had agreed with Abbas on a new prime minister. However, Rayan did not clarify.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan told reporters that his movement had nominated a prime minister candidate close to Hamas and confirmed that Abbas had accepted the candidate.

Shbair, 60, famed for his academic activities, has been the president of the Hamas-dominated Islamic University for 13years.

Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haneya have been engaged in talks for months to form a unity government to replace the incumbent Hamas-led one in a hope of ending the current political and economic crises in the Palestinian territories.

After a general agreement to form a unity government, a committee tasked with outlining the government held its first meeting on Sunday, with both senior members of both Hamas and Fatah in presence.

(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2006)

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