The Palestinian Constitutional Court in Ramallah on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to President Mahmoud Abbas’ appointment as prime minister of a national unity government.
Fatah leader Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal agreed in Qatar last month that the president will lead an interim cabinet to prepare for fresh elections and end divided governments in Gaza and the West Bank.
PLO central council member Abdul-Jawwad Salih submitted a legal challenge to the appointment on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
But the court ruled in a Tuesday hearing that the case does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction.
The verdict, read by Chief Justice Farid al-Jallad, said: “The Doha agreement has nothing to do with legislation, and it is not to be subject to judicial review by the constitutional court.”
Salih’s lawyer Raed Abdul-Hamid warned the ruling set a “very dangerous trend,” by avoiding re-examination of the legality of the PA’s performance.
He said the court was avoiding its role of judicial review, saying that this would harm Palestinian politics by removing oversight of constitutional violations.
Abdul-Hamid argued at the hearing that chapters 63, 38 and 74 of Article 5 of Palestinian Basic Law define an explicit distinction between the roles of prime minister and president in the Palestinian Authority, official news site Wafa reported.
Judges Sami Sarsour, Muhammad Sidir, Eiman Nasser Addin, Adnan Shuaybi, Imad Salim and Khalil al-Sayyad presided over the case with al-Jallad.
Abbas and Mashaal agreed in Doha to form the new government immediately, but the decision to appoint the president and Fatah leader as prime minister caused uproar in Hamas. The new government has yet to be formed.