College president named Palestinian PM

President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah (pictured) as prime minister on Sunday.

Story highlights

  • Longtime West Bank university president chosen to form new government
  • Rami Hamdallah replaces Salaam Fayyad, who led caretaker government
  • He did post-graduate work at universities in Britain
  • He is the top official on the elections commission

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas named the president of a West Bank university as his new prime minister Sunday, a top aide said.

Rami Hamdallah has been asked to form a new Cabinet, Abbas adviser Sabri Saidam told CNN. The British-educated linguist is now the president of An-Najah National University in Nablus, West Bank.

Hamdallah will replace Salaam Fayyad, who has led a caretaker government since Abbas accepted his resignation in April. Fayyad's decision to step down was viewed as a step toward the possible establishment of a unity government between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas.

According to a profile on the An-Najah website, Hamdallah has been president of the university since August 1998. He is also the secretary-general of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission and head of the Palestinian stock exchange.

He received a doctorate in applied linguistics from the University of Lancaster in 1988 and a master's from the University of Manchester in 1982. He graduated from the University of Jordan in 1980 with a degree in the English language.