The resignation of the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Finance, Nabil Qassis, has caused a rift between president Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad. Qassis filed his resignation to Abbas last week, who refused to accept it. Fayyad, on the other hand, accepted it and sacked the minister. When asked by Abbas to reinstate Qassis, Fayyad refused.
Veteran Palestinian political analyst Talal Okal attributed the issue to disputes over the level of Qassis's power in his ministry. Due to the financial crisis, Okal claims, Prime Minister Fayyad was obliged to involve himself in financial affairs. As a result, Qassis felt like a figurehead who is unable to take decisions, hence his resignation.
Okal, who ruled out the possibility of Abbas sacking Fayyad, argued that the dispute between President and Prime Minister is administrative and could be resolved easily. He believes that any government reshuffle will now be connected to reconciliation moves between the two, but he reiterated that Abbas has the right to change his mind if the financial crisis is aggravated.
According to Fatah executive committee member Jamal Mohaisin, "It is the president's government and Fayyad should also have refused to accept the resignation notice from Qassis."
Local media sources said that efforts are being exerted to bridge the gap between Abbas and Fayyad. It is expected that an agreement will be reached by which Qassis will stay in government as "acting finance minister".