Palestinian People’s Party to join unity gov’t

The Palestinian People’s Party on Saturday announced its initial acceptance to join a national unity government that is expected to be ready in a week. “The party initially agrees to participate in the government according to the issues the party has presented to the prime minister-designate,” Bassam al-Salhi, secretary-general of the party, told reporters in Gaza.He said that Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haneya of Hamas showed readiness to deal with the points the party had outlined which include security, education and work rights.

The unity government is being formed after rivals Hamas and Fatah agreed on a power-sharing pact in Saudi Arabia last month. The deal ended months of a power struggle between Hamas, which won the parliamentary elections in January 2006, and the long-dominant Fatah of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, Khalil al-Haia, head of Hamas’ parliamentary bloc, said on Friday that his movement will hand over names of its candidates to Haneya on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters Friday night after Haneya met with a delegation from Fatah, al-Haia said that the meeting was good and Haneya urged Fatah to deliver names of its candidates quickly.

For its part, Fatah expected the government to be announced in a week before Abbas meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Azzam al-Ahmad, a Fatah lawmaker, said that Abbas will arrive in Gaza on Sunday to meet with Haneya “to finalize the structure of the government.”

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