Abu Mazen's Coup D'état
No matter how you look at it, the Palestinian president's announcement that he is planning on holding early legislative and presidential elections in the Occupied Territories, is at best an attempt to seriously undermine the democratically elected government and at worst an attempt to overthrow it. Since the constitution does not stipulate what the procedures would be in the case where a 'no confidence' measure is to be taken, president Abu Mazen has decided that he can interpret it in his favor since he is the executive, albeit one who does not seem to want to let the workings of democracy take root.
The constitution does not indicate that the president has the right to call for early elections, but it does not indicate that he cannot call for them either. Abbas sugar coated his decision by indicating that this is the choice of the people, and that he wanted to give them the opportunity to express their choices through the ballot box. However, as the author of this article states, this decision is purely anti-democratic and against the basic laws of the PA:
Abbas's comments were purely inflammatory and as the president of a people already plagued with war and poverty, he should have known better than to make such statements that will only divide the Palestinian people at a time when they long to be united. Nevertheless, I don't think that the situation will "erupt into civil war" as the mainstream media would have us believe. Why don't they use those same words with confidence when speaking of Iraq?
The Palestinian President relied on what he regarded as one of his constitutional rights by virtue of the second article of the Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulates that the 'people are the source of legislative, executive and judicial authority'. He expressed his desire to leave the choice to the Palestinian people to decide the fate of the legislative and executive authorities.
But the view of the Palestinian President is constitutionally deficient. The phrase 'people are the source of authorities' means that it is the people who elect their representatives in such authorities through public elections on the scheduled time. But to leave the door open for the people to choose their representatives at any time they want, or at the time the President wants, runs contrary to the spirit of constitutional law of any country.
It is worthwhile noting that the reactions to the call for early elections have been mixed. One poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza depicted these mixed reactions:
48% believe the government should resign, 47% believe it shouldn't.The margin of error is 3% which means that the race for president is at a dead heat, if those two candidates were to run together. As of today, Hamas has said that it would boycott such elections because they are illegal and unconstitutional.
61% support holding early elections, 37% oppose.
56% believe that the president has the right to call for early elections, 38% believe he does not.
If parliamentary elections were held today:
42% would vote for Fatah
35 % for Hamas
12 % for independent lists
10 % undecided
If presidential elections were held today between these two candidates:
46% for Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah)
45% for Ismail Haniyah (Hamas)
Public dissatisfaction with Abbas is up 15% compared to three months ago.
Public dissatisfaction with Hamas is up 9% compared to three months ago.
However, if Hamas does decide to participate in the next elections, and is defeated by Fatah, this story will become a perfect example of how Islamists will always fail in a democratic environment. Never mind the fact that they were isolated by the entire world, leaving their population starving and their leaders begging for cash.
Let me say this, Mr. Abbas: at least the leaders in place today are willing to put their lives on the line in order to bring back money into the territories to keep the government running and keep the people alive. This is the exact opposite of what you and your cohorts did when you stuffed the dollars down your throats, vacationed in France and built mansions in undisclosed locations.
It seems like Abbas and Dahlan are desperately missing the cash that used to flow between their fingers. I don't blame you. I'd want early elections too.