According to the Palestinian constitution, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council is supposed to serve as acting PA president for a period of 60 days, after which presidential elections are to be held.
The current speaker of the Hamas-dominated PLC, Abdel Aziz Dweik, is serving a 36-month sentence in Israel for membership in a terrorist organization. His deputy, Ahmed Bahar, also a senior Hamas official, is based in the Gaza Strip. Some Hamas spokesmen said in recent weeks that one of the two men would become acting PA president on January 9.
Of course, Abbas being the good democrat and moderate man, (insert all shades of Arafat here) we know him to be, has not intention of stepping down – for at least another year….
Abbas's aides said he has no plans to step down in the near future, claiming that the PA's Basic Law allows him to stay in power for another year.
Abbas was elected in January 2005 to a four-year term. Hamas officials said that as of Friday they would not recognize Abbas's status as president of the PA. But they also made it clear that they would not demand his resignation for now "because of the war" in the Gaza Strip.
"This is not the time to talk about such matters," said one Abbas aide. "President Abbas was elected by a majority of the people, and as such he's the legitimate leader. He represents all the Palestinians and not only those living in the West Bank." PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told reporters on Thursday that the law calls for holding presidential and legislative elections simultaneously. And since the legislative elections are due to be held in January 2010, Abbas is entitled to stay in office for an additional year, he explained.
Can you imagine the outcry if Bush tried to pull this move?