Gaza: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Rami Hamdallah, a politically independent academic, as his new prime minister.
According to official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas announced his choice of Hamdallah, a British-educated professor of linguistics, shortly before the expiration of a deadline for the appointment.
Hamdallah, who has been president of An Najah National University since 1998, has no prior government experience.
President Abbas has instructed Rami Hamdallah to form a new cabinet.
Hamdallah, 54, replaces Salaam Fayyad who resigned in April reportedly after clashes with Abbas over the limits of his authority, but continued to perform his duties until now.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal to end their bitter four-year division in April 2011, but talks on the formation of a Palestinian unity government have been stalled until last month.