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Abbas resigns as head of PLO Executive Committee

Aug. 22, 2015 10:34 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2015 1:53 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas resigned as head of the PLO Executive Committee Saturday and several others are set to step down, according to local sources.

Tayseer Qubaa, deputy Palestinian parliament speaker, said that the the Executive Committee will hold a meeting Saturday night in order to set a date for the Palestinian National Council (PNC) to discuss plans for filling the upcoming political vacuum.

Qubaa said: "As of now, there are six resigning members: President Mahmoud Abbas, Hanan Ashrawi, Ahmad Majdalani, Saeb Erekat, Ghassan al-Shakaa, and Mahmoud Ismae.”

Palestinian official Wassel Abu Yussef later said that more than half of the 18-member committee had also stepped down.

"The resignation of the president of the executive committee Mahmud Abbas and more than half of its members has created a legal vacuum, and therefore the Palestine National Council has been asked to meet in one month to elect a new executive committee," Yussef told AFP.

Those resigning will be eligible to stand for re-election to the committee when the PNC convenes.

“There is no way to change all the members in the Executive Committee, unless all the current members resign,” Qubaa added.

Qubaa expected that the PNC meeting will be held in Ramallah by September 10.

The 740-member PNC is responsible for deciding on PLO policies and electing the Executive Committee, the PLO's primary executive body.

PLO Executive Committee member Bassam al-Salhi told Ma'an earlier in the day that Abbas would urge the committee to agree on holding the PNC meeting as soon as possible.

The last PNC meeting was an emergency meeting held in 2009 to replace six vacant positions, while the last Executive Committee elections were held in 1996 during a PNC session in Gaza.

Arabic media has speculated that the upcoming meeting could pave the way for Abbas' resignation from office.

Last month, PLO officials dismissed rumors of the president's resignation from office, although sources close to Abbas did not deny the possibility, saying that "important, and maybe dangerous, decisions" are likely to be made in September, coinciding with the UN General Assembly's 70th session.

The Fatah-dominated PLO Executive Committee has been criticized over the past months by several Palestinian factions -- including Hamas -- for unilaterally attempting to reshuffle the unity government initially formed in June 2014.

AFP contributed to this report.
Dougie Dean / UK
When does President Mahmoud Abbas head of the PLO Executive Committee Saturday and the other famous five return the embezzled EU, Japanese and US donated funds
22/08/2015 22:51
Legal Eagle / Australia
When is he going to resign the Presidency as well, and hold ELECTIONS? Enough of PA tyranny - they represent no-one but themselves.
22/08/2015 23:16
Outlier / USA
They should ALL resign and be replaced by elected representatives.
23/08/2015 01:29
International / Games
The PLO leaders have often said they would quit, thinking that Israel would have to take over. But it's just a game, because Israel will never agree to govern Palestinians again. So
International game rules should be a month without PA leadership should be a month without International donations !!
23/08/2015 01:33
Olga / N.J.
To be replaced by same? I see the above posters are nonplussed. Pffff...but? Silver lining here is perhaps the Presidency will finally be ceded paving the way for elections??
23/08/2015 14:20
Bandoraetrog Etrog / The world
Mahmoud Abbas steps down to make way for Abu Mazen
23/08/2015 16:38
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