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Salam Fayyad

Political Figure / Economist

Born: 1952
Birthplace: Deir al-Ghosoon, West Bank
Best known as: The Palestinian finance minister who became emergency prime minister
Salam Fayyad is an economist who was appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in June of 2007 by President Mahmoud Abbas. Raised in the West Bank, Fayyad studied chemistry in the late 1970s at the American University in Beirut, then did his graduate work in the United States. In Austin, Texas he earned his MBA from St. Edward's University and his doctorate in economics at the University of Texas (1986). Fayyad remained in the U.S., and between 1987 and 1995 he worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the World Bank. He then served as the IMF representative from Palestine until 2001, when Yasser Arafat appointed him to be finance minister. Fayyad earned a reputation for straightening out the books, and served in the Fatah-led cabinet until 2005, when he left to lead a new political party, the Third Way (which won two seats in parliament in the 2006 elections). When the Hamas-Fatah coalition broke apart in 2007, Abbas created an emergency government and named Fayyad to replace Hamas leader and prime minister Ismail Haniya.

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