debkafile Exclusive: Abu Mazen assumes presidential powers ahead of opening session of new Palestinian legislature Saturday
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas took advantage of the last day of his own Fatah majority Monday, Feb. 13, to push through the parting session of the outgoing legislature a series of measures which incoming Hamas deputies describe as a “white revolution.” In their words, “An illegal session carried illegal measures.” They accused him of seizing the prerogative for drumming up a constitutional crisis in a few months’ time, sacking the Hamas government and dissolving the legislature. Hamas promised to annul these measures when its 74 members take their seats for the first time in the new house next Saturday.
But, according to debkafile‘s Palestinian sources, Hamas lacks the two-thirds majority in the 132-seat house to annul Abbas’s draconian legislation.
The measures endorsed would weaken the authority of the Hamas-ruled governmental and parliament and top up the powers of the presidency:
1. A constitution court of nine judges all Abbas loyalists was established. It is competent to arbitrate in disputes over the distribution of powers among the president, government and legislature. The tribunal may disqualify basic laws, dissolve parliament and call new elections.
2. The outgoing parliament created the appointments of civil service commissioner, state controller, state prosecutor and parliamentary secretariat. Abu Mazen’s Fatah cronies fill the new posts.
3. A new Palestinian broadcasting service was created under control of the president (instead of the information minister).
4. The outgoing deputies are automatically appointed to the Palestinian National Council, the ruling body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the umbrella organization which signed all former accords with Israel. Hamas seeks admission to the PLO, but Abbas has now made sure that the Islamist terrorists will not gain a majority in the PNC.
This “white revolution” has raised tensions between Abu Mazen’s Fatah and Hamas to the point that an explosion of violence appears unavoidable, with Abbas a prime target.