April 11, 2016 | Quoted by The Tower
Abbas Establishes New Court to Consolidate Hold on Power
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a new constitutional court that will have primacy over lower courts and further entrench his hold on power, Reuters reported on Monday.
The court, which will be run by judges who are affiliated with Abbas’ political party Fatah, “risks deepening Palestinian political divisions,” according to critics. Its rulings would be binding on the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Palestinian government, potentially bolstering Abbas and further marginalizing his rivals, most notably Hamas. However, Fatah has defended the court, claiming that it will be independent of the Palestinian president.
Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called the court’s establishment “a blatant power grab at a time when [Abbas] knows he can get away with it.” Rumley added, “From Abbas’s standpoint, this is his way of both thwarting his rivals in Hamas and securing his Fatah party’s hold on the Palestinian Authority once he is gone.”
“Rather than reforming his party, preparing for elections, or reactivating the defunct parliament, (Abbas) is creating another judicial body by presidential decree in order to, among other things, approve presidential decrees,” Rumley observed.
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