Ramallah: As part of a unity deal with their rivals in the Islamic militant group Hamas, the Fatah movement has nominated Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head a transitional Palestinian government.

The nomination of the respected economist could ease Western concerns over the reconciliation deal, which offers Hamas an equal say in the administration that will govern until elections next year.

But the nomination done on Saturday could complicate the efforts of Hamas and Fatah negotiators already struggling to implement the details of the agreement.

Fayyad, a political independent, has used his term to build and strengthen state institutions and has won the respect of foreign donors. But Hamas considers him a tool of the West.

The United States, the European Union and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization and refuse to have dealings with it. Western countries have said the new government must renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist, conditions Hamas is unlikely to explicitly accept.

Hoping to ease their concerns, the Palestinians say the transitional unity government will be made up of nonpartisan technocrats.

Fatah members met on Saturday to finalize a proposed list of candidates for Cabinet positions. A Fatah official who attended the meeting said Fayyad was chosen to be their candidate. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Fatah and Hamas negotiators are to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss the Cabinet's makeup. Hamas has not said outright that it will dispute Fayyad's nomination and it is unclear what Tuesday's talks will yield.

Fayyad took over as prime minister in 2007 after a short-lived unity government between Fatah and Hamas collapsed into bloodshed that left Fatah governing only in the West Bank and Hamas in charge of Gaza.

The Palestinians hope to unify both territories, located on opposite sides of Israel, into an independent state.