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Palestinian Parliament Approves New Cabinet


The Palestinian parliament has approved a new cabinet dominated by technocrats and professional appointees.

The approval Thursday comes after Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia bowed to lawmakers' demands to replace several officials closely associated with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The new lineup includes Arafat-allies Nabil Shaath, who becomes deputy prime minister, and Nasser al-Qidwa, Mr. Arafat's nephew, who replaces Mr. Shaath as foreign minister. Saeb Erekat, who was an Arafat ally and former minister of negotiations, was left out.

The cabinet was approved after President Mahmoud Abbas pressured the dominant Fatah faction to accept a revised lineup.

Mr. Abbas made reform of the Palestinian Authority a key platform of his recent presidential campaign. The Authority was plagued with corruption under Mr. Arafat, who died in November.

Parliament approved the new cabinet in a vote of 54 to 12 with four abstentions.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.