Palestinian Authority – Unity government likely

Fatah and Hamas appear to have agreed in principle to the idea of a unity government. Meeting in Cairo last week, representatives of the two groups agreed to establish five committees that would report on various issues by 20 March. The interim transitional government would operate until new presidential and legislative elections are held, it is reported.

The Palestinian Information Centre reports that the five committees cover the following areas: the national unity government, the security apparatuses, the rebuilding of the PLO, elections, and national reconciliation.

Assuming a government is formed and given its transitional nature, and assuming there has been agreement to reform the PLO to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad and given the PLO has its own decision-making structures, it is unclear to me whether the government will work, even notionally, within the context of the Basic Law. Indeed, politically, this would raise ongoing issues about the relationship between the president and the prime minister under the Basic Law.

In a recent policy paper, Fatah is reported as claiming that presidential and legislative elections will be held in January 2010. In a recent poll, 79% said they would vote in elections with more people believing that Hamas would win rather than Fatah.

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