Accessibility links

New Palestinian PM to Present Cabinet on Thursday - 2003-10-08

The new Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qureia, faces a test of his power Thursday when he presents his emergency Cabinet to the parliament. Mr. Qureia is reportedly ready to put his government to a vote of confidence.

The Palestinian Legislative Council is to meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah Thursday for a first look at the new government.

Mr. Qureia leads an eight member Cabinet, which is to serve a maximum of two months, while efforts are made to establish a larger government.

He is expected to address the parliament before his government is submitted for approval in a vote of confidence.

He and his fellow ministers were appointed to their posts through a special decree issued by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Two of the ministers selected for the Cabinet did not show up for a swearing-in ceremony earlier this week.

One of them is Nasser Yousef, who is to be in charge of some branches of the Palestinian security forces. Palestinian officials say he is negotiating to widen the scope of his powers.

He is known as an Arafat loyalist, although he is reported to have clashed with the Palestinian president last month during a meeting of Palestinian officials.

Meanwhile, Mr. Arafat's advisers have said the 74-year-old head of the Palestinian Authority has been suffering from what they described as a stomach virus and continues to be weak. But they denied press speculation that Mr. Arafat suffered a mild heart attack.

In recent public appearances, Mr. Arafat has appeared tired and pale. His doctors visited him at his battered headquarters in Ramallah, where he spoke with great effort and often with prompting from his chief adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeinah.