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A rare demonstration, organized by the Palestinian Bar Association, to protest against the numerous decrees of President Mahmoud Abbas, asking for an elected parliament and an independent judiciary. The demonstrators hoped to reach the office of Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, but were stopped by Palestinian security forces.
With our correspondent in Ramallah, Alice Froussard
The demands of Palestinian lawyers are simple, but the problem is not new. Since the suspension of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2007 by Mahmoud Abbas, after internal divisions between Fatah, the party in power in the West Bank, and Hamas, in power in Gaza, the Palestinian president no longer governs except by presidential decree.
An action made possible thanks to Article 43 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which serves as the Constitution, although in this article it is specified that ruling by decree is only possible in case of emergency and when it does not cannot be postponed.
According to Palestinian jurists, this article was mainly used by the president to seize legislative power. Mahmoud Abbas passed about 400 presidential decrees since 2005 during his term, which was supposed to end in 2009, thirteen years ago. In recent months, say Palestinian lawyers, the decrees passed have only compromised the independence of the judiciary or even weakened the very structure of the latter.
Mahmoud Abbas has also been strongly criticized by lawyers for appointing Issa Abu Sharrar, a very unpopular figure among lawyers and judges, as head of the judicial authority. And these lawyers are determined to be heard because all these decrees, they say, mainly restrict the laws and freedoms of the Palestinians.