PLO chairman Yasser Arafat has been elected president of the government-in-exile for the newly declared Palestinian state, a PLO official announced.
The Palestine Liberation Organization's central committee voted unanimously for Arafat, who was unopposed in his bid for president of the provisional government, said Abdelhamid Essayeh, president of the Palestine National Council, the PLO's parliament-in-exile.Essayeh did not specify how many of the 70 committee members were present for Sunday's vote.
The Kuwait News Agency quoted PLO spokesman Bassam Abu Sharif as saying those voting for Arafat included members of the hard-line factions Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They have expressed reservations about Arafat's policies.
Even though no land is under Palestinian control, the council proclaimed an independent state at a meeting Nov. 15. It left it up to the central committee to establish a government-in-exile.
The central committee resumed meeting Sunday afternoon and elected Farouk Kaddoumi foreign minister of the Palestinian state, PLO official Abu Iyad told the French news agency Agence France-Presse.
Iyad is a member of a small executive committee that runs day-to-day affairs of the PLO and is also a top official in Arafat's Fatah, the largest PLO group.