A new Palestinian cabinet has been sworn in, hours after parliament approved the lineup dominated by reformers and technocrats.
Of the cabinet's 24 members, 17 are newcomers to the government, and almost all are experts in their field with advanced university degrees. Parliament overwhelmingly approved the cabinet in a vote of 54 to 12 with four abstentions.
Lawmakers had debated the cabinet membership for days until Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia bowed to demands to replace several officials closely associated with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The lineup still has several Arafat-allies including Nabil Shaath, who becomes deputy prime minister, and Mr. Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Kidwa, who replaces Mr. Shaath as foreign minister.
Analysts say the cabinet is an important step for President Mahmoud Abbas' democratic reforms. However, the cabinet members' tenure may be short because parliamentary elections scheduled for July could usher in a new government.