Arafat fights to limit powers of new prime minister
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
RAMALLAH Ñ Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has
encountered strong opposition from legislators regarding his demand that he
approve all ministerial appointments.
By a vote of 49-22, the Palestinian Legislative Council turned down
Arafat's request that any Cabinet be "presented" to the PA chairman. It was
one of a series of amendments Arafat proposed in an attempt to reduce the
authority of any new prime minister.
Western donor nations have pressed Arafat to appoint a prime minister.
Last week, Arafat named PLO Executive Council secretary Mahmoud Abbas to the
The PLC has approved the position of prime minister. Since then, Arafat
and the PLC have differed over the powers of the premier. PA sources said
Arafat has demanded the authority to appoint and dismiss ministers.
The PLC agreed that Arafat would continue to be the leading power in
Palestinian politics. The legislature allowed Arafat to retain command of
the security forces and in foreign policy, particularly with Israel.