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A Study on Palestinian Governments (From the foundation of the PA until the second parliamentary elections)
By: Fahed Suleiman (Member of the political bureau Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine)
 

Introduction

To undergo the second parliamentary elections on January 25, 2006, Ahmed Qurei (Abou Alaa), the Palestinian Prime Minister resigned from his office on December 15, 2005, the deadline for candidates to apply. Thus, he exceeded the two-month period provided in the Elections Law for the cabinet members, particularly its head. President Mahmoud Abbas, in his turn, accepted Abou Alaa resignation. He declared that “a caretaker cabinet will be formed and will continue assuming its responsibilities under Dr. Nabil Sha’ath until the elections day”.

The transition to caretaker cabinet came at the end of an integrated stage of the one party government. These governments have started since the foundation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on July 1, 1994, and stayed incumbent for about 12 years. They depended on (and driven from) a Legislative Council with the same autocratic characteristics. The council, elected on January 20, 1996, continued in office, by the date of conducting second legislative elections, for ten year. Yet, its tenure should not have exceeded three years; namely from March 7, 1996, the date of starting its functions officially. The three years, however, extended for a decade due to the automatic extension, which is one of the characteristics of the current Palestinian political system.

The government which was formed as a result of the second legislative elections has not achieved the same result as its precedents, though it did not reflect the multiparty system of the new Legislative Council. There was not a wide political participation in the elections by influential and active powers. Their weight, beside the amended election law, enabled them to enter the council, and consequently to reflect a new formula in legislation and accountability. Such new formula comes as a result of the combination of loyalists and opponents, and consequently, in terms of the relation between the government with the council and the presidency of the PA, and relation between the positions of the Authority triangle (presidency, government, and Legislative Council), whether it is a clash or cooperation relationship.

The following is a study on the Palestinian government formed since the foundation of the PA till the night of elections. This includes the “Separation Wall” campaign and its consequences and the “Road Map” plan, until the death of President Arafat, the “Disagreement Plan” and the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas.

In his study, Fahd Solaiman, member on the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), stops at the main stations of the birth of the consecutive Palestinian governments. In this context, he seeks to peruse the Palestinian political system, the subsequent impacts and the developments introduced to it under external pressures. One of these pressures is the separation between the presidency and the government as the Quartet Committee sponsoring the “Road Map” plan, required. He also seeks to study the “Palestinian formula” of the single party government as clearly demonstrated in “Fatah movement” experience in imposing control over the authority triangle; namely, presidency, government, and the Legislative Council.

In this book, the Palestinian Center for Documentation and Information (Malaf) tries to continue its mission in shedding light on the Palestinian political experience in the frame of joining the national and struggle movement of the Palestinian people.

Malaf

 
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