Mahmoud Abbas’ Succession, L’Orient (2020)

في مقالة للصحفية ستيفاني خوري (بالإنجليزية والفرنسية) حول خلافة الرئيس عباس وصعود نجم رئيس الوزراء محمد اشتية وتحديات الحكومة والسلطة الفلسطينية على ضوء أزمة كوفيد-19 والانتقادات التي بدأت تظهر للحكومة حول إدارة الملف الاقتصادي كانت لي مساهمة بسيطة – مع اقتباسات قيمة من د. علي الجرباوي ود. خليل الشقاقي. أدناه الاقتباس في المقالة. ولئلا يقرأ الاقتباس خارج سياقه العام، وددت مشاركتكم ردودي كاملة على أسئلة الصحفية أدناه.

عن سؤالها حول رئيس الوزراء د. محمد اشتية هذا ما اقتبسته الصحفية مما كتبته لها:

The prime minister’s personality is the key argument justifying the legitimacy for his possible ascension to the presidency.”Shtayyeh is known for his talent as a speaker, a powerful communicator and someone who has risen within the hierar-chy of Fatah (Abbas’ party) thanks to these skills and his hard work. This distin-guishes him from his predecessors,” said Asem Khalil, a public law specialist and professor at the Birzeit University.

You can read the full article in English here.

La personnalité du Premier ministre est l’argument phare qui permet de justifier la légitimité d’une possible accession à la présidence. « Shtayeh est connu pour ses talents d’orateur, de communicant efficace et quelqu’un qui a su se hisser au sein de la hiérarchie du Fateh (le parti de Mahmoud Abbas) grâce à ces compétences et à son travail, ce qui lui permet de se distinguer par rapport à ses prédécesseurs », précise Asem Khalil, spécialiste de droit public et professeur à l’Université de Bir Zeit.

Vous pouvez lire l’article en français ici.

تجدون هنا كافة أسئلة الصحفية مع أجوبتي باللغة الإنجليزية (تم إرسالها بالبريد الإلكتروني بتاريخ 7/5/2020

  1. What is the respective share of prerogatives / power attributed to the President and the Prime Minister according to the Palestinian constitution / laws ? 

The current president, Mahmoud Abbas, was the first nominated prime minister following the amendment of the Basic Law in 2003 ( an amendment that introduced the office of Prime minister). Before that, the president chaired also the council of ministers. When Abbas resigned as prime minister after less than 6 months in office, many believed that the reasons were related to conflict over powers with the president.

The 2003 Basic Law was clear that the council of ministers has the residual executive powers – the exceptions only when the Basic Law directly gives the president certain executive prerogative – the rest remain for the council of ministers. It is a fact, however, that the Basic Law did not include constitutional arrangements to make the cohabitation possible between two heads of the executive branch; such as for example the case in France where co-signature is the rule to ensure responsibility of the prime minister and his government, and where the composition of the council of ministers obliges all parties to coordinate and agree. In Palestine, this was not the case.

Arafat continued business as usual despite the 2003 amendments. When Abbas became a president in 2005, the problem of cohabitation exasperated as a result of the composition of a government by the competing party, Hamas led government of Ismail Haneyyeh. Since the 2007 coup, the government is not a reflection of a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council – it was a technocrat government lead by Salam Fayyad, it was literally the president’s government, despite the Basic Law division of labor between the two heads of the executive. Also the president has various sources of authority, besides being head of the Palestinian Authority. He is at the same time, head of the State of Palestine and chairman of the PLO executive Committee. So despite what the Basic Law says, the imbalance was always in favor towards the president in Palestine.

  1. Mohammad Shtayyeh is said to be a pro-active and efficient manager of current political affairs. His dynamism contrasts with his two predecessors, Rami Hamdallah and Salam Fayad. Is he taking more power than what the political system and laws grant him as Prime Minister? 

It is clear that having a Fatah prime minster makes a difference in this case – besides his dynamism and efficiency as prime minister, of course. His two predecessors has no party support behind their back. They are both technically technocrats. So Shtayyeh already started his term as prime minister completely from a different state of affairs. Look for example to the way he managed the emergency for example – where committees from villages and refugee camps where volunteering to help. Those committees were mostly Fatah affiliates – something that others noticed and criticized. Also, notice the way this emergency was managed (this is the third emergency in Palestine, first was in 2003, second in 2007, and this one). It was the first time that the president clearly delegate authority to manage affairs during emergency time to the prime minister. There were though setbacks – a decree law issued two weeks after the declaration of emergency where the predominant role of the president was confirmed. There were also cases where two decree laws were adopted by the president clearly without the council of ministers knowing about them – with privileges to certain categories of high profile officials. The fact that the two decree laws were cancelled the day after, following generalized protest in social media, and an active role of the prime minster, was seen by many as confirming again the increasingly important role of the current prime minister in public affairs.

  1. His 2 predecessors are said to be much less efficient. Do you think their decision-taking capacity and process was complicated by the fact that they had to reach consensual decisions, as independent politicians? 

I think this is very important reason – the fact that they didn’t represent a political party, nor are selected with the support of one. They were technocrats without the support of a relevant party. I referred to that in the previous question. I believe however that this is not the only reason. Shtayyeh is well known for his skills as a public speaker, good communicator, and someone who has a history in Fatah of someone who made himself rise in its ranks because of those skills and hard work. So there are also reasons for his distinction in that sense from his predecessors for skills that other lack, besides the party affiliation.

ملاحظة: هذا النص مسودة اولية حيث ما زال يخضع للتحرير اللغوي

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