GAZA CITY, Gaza, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The Hamas militant party member who was most popular in January elections, Ismail Haniya, was selected to be the next Palestinian prime minister Thursday.
The 43-year-old former university administrator was by far the most popular candidate in the Jan. 25 elections that reduced the ruling Fatah party to a minority.
The BBC said Haniya is seen as more open to dialogue with Israel than many other Hamas leaders.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah minority leader is scheduled to form a new government on Saturday.
Meanwhile, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has warned that unless Hamas disarms and agrees to recognize Israel as a state, there will be no negotiating, and funding will be cut off.