Ma'an News Agency
February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas can appoint himself as head of the next government, a Fatah official said Wednesday, dismissing criticism that the move to bolster unity had no standing in Palestinian law.

Azzam Ahmad said no law prevented Abbas from heading the government. "I advise those who reject this to read the laws again; we are a presidential system, not parliamentary."

The Doha agreement signed Monday by Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal has been welcomed and criticized, with some saying the president had overstepped the parliament's authority.

But Ahmad said the move -- in which Abbas will take charge as prime minister, rather than a politician decided jointly between Fatah and Hamas -- has been discussed with Hamas over the course of the last year.

Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar told Ma'an that the agreement "contradicted basic Palestinian law and overstepped the Palestinian Legislative Council."

Political analyst Mustafa Sawwaf, likewise, criticized the legality of the Doha agreement, saying it is "null because Palestinian basic law does not authorize the president to be prime minister at the same time."

“I believe this agreement will not see the light, nor will it be translated into action. I am afraid it was signed just to show courtesy to the emir of Qatar,” he added.


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