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PLO Central Council to dissolve Palestinian Legislative Council;PLC speaker: 'act is illegal'

Jan. 13, 2008 12:26 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 13, 2008 12:26 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an Exclusive - The Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Ahmad Bahar, has condemned an announcement that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) plans to dissolve the PLC on Sunday.

Bahar blasted the plan: "Who are the members of those councils who want to dissolve the PLC? They were clinically dead, and now they want to revive themselves at the expense of the Palestinian people and the elected PLC! They had been appointed without elections, and we do not know who appointed them."

Constitutional concerns

The Central Council of the PLO is meeting at 5:30pm local time on Sunday. It is expected that the Council will dissolve the Hamas-majority PLC, which is a part of the Palestinian Authority created by the Olso peace agreements. The move will revert legislative power back to the PLO and the Palestinian National Council. Hamas is not a member of the PLO.

In an interview with Ma'an, Bahar insisted that under article 113 of the Palestinian Basic Law the PLC cannot be dissolved, even in a state of emergency. Article 113 reads "The Palestinian Legislative Council shall not be dissolved or suspended during the emergency situation."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared an emergency after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June. Abbas dismissed a national unity government that included Hamas, appointing a caretaker government whose term has been extended until the present.

Bahar cast doubt on the authority of the long-dormant Palestinian National Council. He said, mockingly, "Even the speaker of this Council does not know the number of its members."

He added, "They were supposed to hold the sixth conference, yet 10 years have passed and they were not able to hold any conference, so how come they talk about disbanding the PLC?"

Bahar said that the rival Fatah party, controlled by Abbas, boycotted the last sessions of the PLC in November, which were convened by Hamas lawmakers. Bahar accused Fatah of attempting to stop PLC activity "since the beginning."

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