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March 20, 2003

Mahmoud Abbas accepts position as Palestinian prime minister

15 links to news articles on ME for today's news items, and summary
The Palestinian parliament created the post of prime minister Tuesday, taking a major step toward U.S.-sought reforms and rebuffing Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's attempts to retain a say in forming the next Cabinet. (11) Arafat appointed his longtime deputy Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister Wednesday, a senior official said, marking the first time that Arafat has been forced to share power. (1) The Palestinian parliament defied Arafat yesterday and lifted hopes that the peace process could be revived by giving the new Palestinian prime minister some of the powers the United States has insisted are needed. (5) Abbas, known as Brother Abu Mazen, accepted the position a day after the parliament approved creating the post, said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Arafat.. (2) Yasir Arafat signed legislation today to create a post of prime minister, after the Palestinian parliament and members of his Fatah movement forced him to withdraw a proposal to restrict the prime minister's powers. (8) The measure, which legislators said would have compelled the prime minister to seek Arafat's approval for every ministerial appointment, had majority backing but failed to gain the necessary two-thirds support. (9) [click here for links]