The Palestinian Political System: An analysis of the Modified Palestine Basic Law 2003 and the Modified Elections Law 2005
By: Kamal M. M. Al-Astal
Department of Political Scince
Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences
Al-Azhar University of Gaza
The Palestinian political system has not been subjected to comprehensive scientific analysis. According to the researcher’s knowledge, this research the first attempt to shed light on the Palestinian political system as it has been showed by the Palestinian Authority Basic Law and the Palestine Elections Law. The Researcher has used a number of methodological tools and approaches such as text analysis approach, the descriptive analysis approach and political systems approach.
The scope of the research covers the interim period from 1994 to 2006. In July 1994 the Palestinian Authority was established and in March 2003 the Basic Law was modified to limit the president authority and to create another part of the Executive Authority, i.e. the Prime Minister and The Council of Ministers. In June 2005, the Elections Law was modified to combine majority system and proportional representation system. The number of the Palestine Legislative Council was increased from 88 members to 132 members.
The analysis focuses on examining the three main authorities and the electoral system and the type of the Palestinian political system. The researched has concluded that the Palestinian political system is a “mixed political system”. This means the Palestinian Political System has a mixture of characteristics of the tripartite traditional classification of the political system into Parliamentarian, Presidential and National Assembly systems.
The researcher has reviewed the main functions of the Palestinian President according the Bas Law, the duties of the Prime Ministers and the Council of Ministers, the Functions of the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) and the functions of the Judiciary Authority.
The research includes updated tables of the number of candidates (314 candidate) to the Second Palestinian elections which was held on 25 January 2006 for the Palestine Legislative Council and the 11 lists competing for the PLC seats with total number of candidate 414 candidates. The total number of candidates in the 16 constituencies and list is 728. The number of PLC seats has been increased from 88 members to 132 members.
The analysis reviews the main articles of the Palestine Basic Law and the eight chapters of the Law which includes 122 articles. The analysis examines the Law amendments that allowed the division of the Executive Authority into the presidential Institution and the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers institution. The increment of the Palestine Legislative Council’ members from 88 members to 132
Overview of the Palestine Basic Law
In May 2002, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat finally signed the Basic Law, a type of interim constitution, originally ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 1997. This document took several years to develop, first by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Legal Committee, and later by the PLC pursuant to the Oslo Accords. The Basic Law was supposed to have been the governing document for an autonomy period that should have ended in 1999, the time for completion of final status negotiations. Even if present circumstances prevent the implementation of the Basic Law, it remains an important indication of the democratic nature of the state most Palestinians want.