The emergency Palestinian government led by Salam Fayyad was scheduled to step down Friday night, to be replaced by a caretaker Palestinian government led by - Salam Fayyad.
The new government is exactly like the old one, plus a few extra ministers. But it will have an indefinite mandate so long as the current Palestinian Parliament is unable to meet with a quorum.
The maneuvering was required because the emergency cabinet, named by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, after he fired the government led by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas, could last for only 30 days unless Parliament ratified it.
But when Abbas called a session of the legislature, Hamas boycotted it, denying it a quorum. Hamas did so because with so many of its legislators in Israeli jails, it would have lost the majority it won in the elections of January 2006.
But that allowed Abbas to decree that the Fayyad emergency government would transform into the Fayyad caretaker government until either the Parliament met or there were new elections, both of which currently seem unlikely because of Hamas opposition.