Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Rami Hamdallah, the head of al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, to form a new government as the next prime minister, and the academic said he accepted the task.
Abbas handed the task to Hamdallah, also the head of the electoral commission, during a meeting at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah on Sunday.
"President Abbas has asked me to form a new government and I have accepted," Hamdallah, 54, a member of Abbas's Fatah party who has also headed the Palestinian Stock Exchange, told the AFP news agency.
"The government will be formed in the coming days. Most ministers of the outgoing government will stay and I will bring in a new finance minister," he added.
Hamdallah has a doctorate in applied linguistics from Britain's Lancaster University and was born in Anabta, near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank. He has no previous experience in a political role.
The move came as the term of Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad formally ended.
Fayyad, a political independent, resigned on April 13 after months of tension with Abbas, despite US efforts to keep him in place.
He stayed on in a caretaker role, the period for which legally ends on Sunday night.
On April 27, Abbas announced that consultations had started to form a unity government under his own leadership, in accordance with a long-delayed reconciliation deal between his Fatah faction and the rival movement Hamas.
Palestinian Basic Law stipulates that the person charged with forming a new government then has three weeks to choose a new lineup, which can then be extended by another two if the issue is not resolved within that timeframe.