Ma'an News Agency
December 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The PLO’s Central Council is authorized to extend president Abbas’ term as he is president of both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, the second deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Hassan Khreisha said on Wednesday.

But, Khreisha told Ma'an that the Central Council is not authorized to extend the PLC’s term because the body is supposed to remain in charge until new lawmakers are elected.

Khreisha pointed out that late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat extended his term, and thus it is legal for Abbas to do the same.

Khreisha criticized those who focus on the possibility of a constitutional vacuum when Abbas steps down, arguing that extending Abbas’ term “will not solve any problems,” in terms of the internal political crisis.

The official said that the division between his Fatah party and Hamas must be resolved independently, in order to set the stage for negotiations.

Abbas announced in November that he has no desire to seek another term in elections. Plans for new elections, however, are on hold because the Central Elections Commission says it cannot hold a poll in Gaza where Hamas is in control.

The PLO Central Council is set to meet on 15 December, when the body is expected to appoint Abbas to stay on as president. According to the Palestinian Basic Law, the president’s term expired in January 2009.


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