Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is thinking of getting rid of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and instead appointing an economist to form a new government, a Palestinian official told Chinese news agency Xinhua Wednesday.

Fayyad also is knowledgeable about economics, having taught the subject in Jordan. He also earned a Masters in Business Administration at St. Edwards University in the United States, where he lived for nearly 20 years.

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The PA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that differences between Abbas and Fayyad escalated after Fayyad accepted the resignation of his finance minister earlier this month without consulting with Abbas, who was in Saudi Arabia at that time.

Abbas and his Fatah party leaders have a long history of distrust Fayyad who is considered an “outside” because of his Western training and because he was virtually hand-picked as Prime Minister by the American officials.

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