The interim governing body in the State of Palestine is the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). It was established under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of 1994 between the Palestinian Liberation Organization under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, and Israel. According to the treaty, Palestine is a republic state with a semi-presidential multi-party system of governance. The country has a 132 member unicameral legislature known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The President of the PNA is the head of state, and he shares power with the Prime Minister of the PNA who he appoints from the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Prime Minister leads the cabinet. Since 2007, however, Palestine’s government of national unity has been in dispute, leading to separate de facto governing bodies in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The last presidential election in Palestine was held in 2005, and President Abbas won after garnering 62.52% of all cast votes. Voting in Palestine is by secret ballot and one has to be a registered voter to participate in the process. Electoral laws in the nation state that the President and members of parliament are to serve for four-year terms. The country has however not held any other presidential election since January 2005 due to hostility between Hamas and Fatah.

The president of Palestine resides in Ramallah, which is located in the West Bank. Ramallah is the de facto seat of the Palestinian National Authority. The president’s offices are based in the Mukataa of Ramallah, which was also the West Bank headquarters of President Yasser Arafat. In August 2017, President Abbas was in the headlines when Palestinian officials announced that he would not occupy a luxurious new presidential residence he had built near Ramallah. Part of the reason Abbas declined to move into the mansion was because of criticism from Palestinians who felt that the project was a waste of public resources at a time when the nation was encountering financial difficulties.

Hamas and Fatah are both political parties that are currently active in Palestine.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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