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Palestinian National Authority

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Politics and government of
the Palestinian National Authority

1 On June 14, 2007, President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Haniyeh's government and appointed Fayyad to form an emergency government. However, Haniyeh and Hamas maintain that these actions were illegal and that Haniyeh is still the Prime Minister. Haniyeh still exercises de facto authority in the Gaza Strip, while Fayyad's authority is limited de facto to the West Bank.

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Although the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is not an internationally recognized independent sovereign state, it nevertheless conducts its politics along state-like lines; furthermore, it has formal political control over a significant but highly discontinuous section of its claimed territory. The politics of the PNA take place within the framework of a semi-presidential multi-party republic with an executive President with a Prime Minister leading the Cabinet.


Political developments since 1993

Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which established the Palestinian National Authority a governing body for the interim period pending final status negotiations.

Executive branch

The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position (equivalent to head of state) in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The president is elected by popular elections.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority and thus not directly elected by the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament) or Palestinian voters.

Unlike the Prime Minister's office in many other nations, the Palestinian Prime Minister does not serve as a member of the legislature while in office. Instead, the appointment is made independently by the ruling party. The Prime Minister is expected to represent the majority party or ruling coalition in the parliament.

The leadership of the PNA has been disputed since the national unity government broke up on 14 June 2007 when President Abbas declared a state of emergency moved to dismiss Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister but he and the Palestinian Legislative Council did not acknowledge the legitimacy of this step.[1][2] Fighting between Fatah and Hamas has left the former in control of the West Bank and the latter in control of the Gaza Strip resulting in separate de facto leaderships in the territories both with dubious constitutional legitimacy.[3][4] The situation was aggravated on 9 January 2009 when Abbas's term of office should have expired and Hamas appointed its own acting president in the form of Abdel Aziz Duwaik, who as the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council can take over the post for 60 days under certain circumstances.[5][6][7]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President in the West Bank Mahmoud Abbas Fatah 15 January 2005
Prime Minister in the West Bank Salam Fayyad Independent 17 June 2007
Acting President in the Gaza Strip Abdel Aziz Duwaik Hamas 9 January 2009
Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh Hamas 29 March 2006

Legislative branch

The Palestinian Legislative Council (Majlis al-Tashri'i in Arabic) is the legislature of the Palestinian Authority. It is not to be confused with the Palestine National Council, which remains the national legislature of the Palestinian people as a whole. The PLC passed a new law in June 2005 increasing the number of MPs from 88 to 132, stipulating that half be elected under a system of proportional representation and half by traditional constituencies. New parliamentary polls took place on January 25, 2006. Initial exit polling indicated that Fatah won the most seats, though without a majority, but the results were different.

Political parties and elections

e • d  Summary of the 25 January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election results
Alliances and parties Votes (Proportional) % (Proportional) Seats (Proportional/District seats)
Change and Reform 440,409 44.45 74 (29/45)
Fatah, harakat al-tahrīr al-filastīnī (Liberation Movement of Palestine) 410,554 41.43 45 (28/17)
Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) (al-jabhah al-sha`biyyah li-tahrīr filastīn) 42,101 4.25 3 (3/0)
The Alternative (al-Badeel) 28,973 2.92 2 (2/0)
Independent Palestine 26,909 2.72 2 (2/0)
Third Way 23,862 2.41 2 (2/0)
Freedom and Social Justice 7,127 0.72 0 (0/0)
Freedom and Independence 4,398 0.44 0 (0/0)
Martyr Abu Abbas 3,011 0.30 0 (0/0)
National Coalition for Justice and Democracy (Wa'ad) 1,806 0.18 0 (0/0)
Palestinian Justice 1,723 0.17 0 (0/0)
Independents - - 4 (0/4)
Total (turnout: 74.6%) 990,873 100.0% 132 (66/66)
Source: Central Election Commission, Preliminary results,Final tally amendments, 2006-01-29, Final results

Judicial branch

According to the constitution, the Judiciary branch shall be independent, and shall be assumed by the different types and level of courts. The structure, jurisdiction, and rulings of the courts shall be in accordance with law. The rulings shall be announced and executed in the name of the Palestinian people. It also states that the judges shall be independent, and shall not be subject to any authority other than the authority of law while exercising their duties and that no other authority may interfere in the judiciary or in the justice affairs. The Basic Law calls for the establishment of a Supreme Judicial Council shall be created. ARTICLE 101 1. States: Sharia’ (Islamic law) affairs and personal status shall be assumed by Sharia’ and religious courts in accordance with law. 2. Military courts shall be established by special laws. Such courts shall not have any jurisdiction beyond military affairs. Concerning public prosecutions, the constitution states the following:

"ARTICLE 107 1. The Attorney General shall be appointed through a decision issued by the President of the National Authority, based on a recommendation submitted by the Supreme Judicial Council, and endorsement of the Legislative Council. 2. The Attorney General shall handle and assume public cases in the name of the Palestinian Arab People. The jurisdiction, functions and duties of the Attorney General shall be specified by law.

ARTICLE 108 1. The jurisdiction, functions, structure, and composition of the Public Prosecution shall be regulated by law. 2. The appointment, transfer, removal, and questioning conditions of members of Public Prosecution, shall be specified by law.

ARTICLE 109 Execution sentence issued by any court shall not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the National Palestinian Executive Authority."

Administrative divisions

After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the West bank and the Gaza Strip were divided into areas (A, B, and C) and governorates. Area A refers to the area under PA security and civilian control. Area B refers to the area under Palestinian civilian and Israeli security control. Area C refers to the area under full Israeli control such as settlements.

International organization participation

UN (observer), OIC, AL, NAM, G-77


External links



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