With the creation of Prime Minister post, Palestinians concerned about potential “white coup” against Arafat
The Palestinian Legislative Council endorsed Monday the creation of a Prime Minister post for the Palestinian Authority. The PLC is set to continue its meetings to discuss the powers to be taken from president Arafat and given to the new post. This move will witness the beginning of a new era for Arafat, as it will limit, in an unprecedented manner, his hegemony and power, and perhaps toppling him as his advocates fear.
Palestinian sources told Albawaba.com that voting on the newly created post at the opening session of the Legislative Council meeting convened at Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah endorsed the proposal by 64 votes, while 3 votes were against and 4 abstentions.
The PLC speaker Ahmed Qurai, Abu Ala, opened the meeting. This was followed by Arafat’s speech. The meetings have been convened to discuss the creation of the PM new post in addition to determining the authorities to be invested in the Prime Minister.
Earlier, the PLO Central Council, which concluded Sunday a series of two-day meetings, approved the nomination by Arafat of the PLO no. 2, Mahmoud Abbas known as Abu Mazen for the post, but the latter did not show any sign that he accepted it.
Until the latest meetings held Monday, nothing has been announced about an agreement between Arafat and Abu Mazen regarding the authorities, which Abbas demanded. Fatah movement, United States, Israel, European Union and some Arab countries, support his demands. The US and Israel, in particular, want the new post to mark the beginning of limiting Arafat’s grip of power, if not ousting him politically.
With his powerful status, which Abu Mazen enjoys inside, as well as outside the Palestinian land, many Fatah leaders started expressing fears that taking powers from Arafat for the new post might lead to a “white coup” against the man who led the PLO for 34 years.
A Palestinian source, requested anonymity, said, “we know this process will affect Arafat but we also demanded lifting siege imposed upon him too.” The source sees that the powers to be given to the Prime Mister will have adverse impacts on Arafat, should he remain under siege and unable to move like the PM who will be able to maneuver and so cause more of Arafat’s sidelining.
However, other Palestinian opposition leaders such as Legislative Council member, Abdel Jawwad Saleh, ruled out the possibility that Abu Mazen would go beyond the democratic game and use his demands to marginalize Arafat. “I do not imagine Abu Mazen will ever attempt to supercede democracy,” Saleh told Albawaba.com few moments before he entered the PLC meeting hall. He added, “I do not think Palestinians will support such a coup particularly if it aims at serving the American and Israeli interests.”
Yet, Saleh agreed with the expectations that the creation of the new post and giving it powers would put limits on Arafat’s authority and political hegemony. (Albawaba.com)
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