Council of Ministers

The position of Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister was created in 2003, in part due to international criticism of the then president, Yasser Arafat.

The prime minister is appointed by the president of the PA and must form a government (council of ministers) within three weeks (with a possible two week extension) which must then be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). According to the PA’s Basic Law, if the prime minister fails to form a government within the stated deadline or does not obtain the confidence of the PLC, the president must appoint another prime minister.

Since the West Bank-Gaza split in 2007 and the resulting incapacitation of the PLC, the council of ministers has been approved by the president.

Initially, prime ministers were Fatah members, reflecting the party’s electoral majority in the PLC. These were Mahmoud Abbas (2003) and Ahmed Qurei (2003-2006). Following Hamas‘s win in the 2006 legislative elections Ismail Haniyeh then became prime minister. However, following the international boycott of the Hamas-led government and subsequent Gaza-West Bank split, the prime minister was an independent ‘technocratic’ figure: first Salam Fayyad (2007-2013); and then Rami Hamdallah (2013-2019).

Hamdallah latter formed a short-lived government of national consensus endorsed by Hamas in June 2014. He was eventually forced to resign as prime minister by President Abbas in January 2019 and was succeeded by Mohammad Shtayyeh (2019-2024).

In March 2024, President Abbas appointed Mohammad Mustafa as prime minister following the Shtayyeh’s resignation. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, and Mustafa Barghouti‘s Palestinian National Initiative jointly rejected the unilateral move, warning it would deepen the PA’s leadership crisis and its separation from realities on the ground and the Palestinian public.