Palestinian Basic Law
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The Palestinian Basic Law

A collection of various propsals and amendments to the Basic Law of Palestine.

Siyam: Will not deal with Abbas as president after 9 January

Said Siyam, interior minister in the de facto government in Gaza, declares that the de facto government will not deal with president Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority when his current term expires. 

Siyam argues that “President Abbas’ term ends on 9 January 2009, and this should help build national reconciliation. There must be a Palestinian president who reunites the Palestinian people and speaks on behalf of both Fatah and Hamas.”

Read: Maan News, “Hamas will not work with Abbas as PA president after January 2009,” 22 July 2008,

The Palestinian Basic Law sets the term of the PLC and the president to four years.  However, the election law also stipulates that elections for the two are to cooncide. Whereas President Abbas was elected in 2005, the PLC was elected in 2006. Fatah and Hamas disagree on how to solve this issue.

On 29 June, the Bureau of Fatwa and Legislation in Ramallah stated that President Abbas’ term will extend to the end of the legislative mandate of the second Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Hamas, however, argues that Abbas’ presidency is set to expire in January 2009.

Read: Maan News, “Hamas lawmaker: extending Abbas’ term is illegal”, 30 June 2008,

Read:Maan News, “Bureau of Fatwa and Legislation: President Abbas’ term to coincide with current PLC mandate,” 29 June 2008,

The Economist, The Palestinians Ever Divided, 26 June 2008,

Maan News, “Crisis of presidency – By Nasser Lahham,” 3 July 2008,

Legal opinions:
When is the next elections? Q&A by IFES

Read: Legal Opinion by Fatwa & Legislation Office regarding the presidential term of Mahmoud Abbas

Factsheet on Palestinian presidential elections by Nathan J. Brown

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Facts about the Basic Law

The Palestinian Basic Law is to function as a temporary constitution for the Palestinian Authority until the establishment of an independent state and a permanent constitution for Palestine can be achieved.

The Basic Law was passed by the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1997 and ratified by President Yasser Arafat in 2002. It has subsequently been amended twice; in 2003 the political system was changed to introduce a prime minister. In 2005 it was amended to conform to the new Election Law. The 2003 reform was comprehensive and affected the whole nature of the Palestinian political system, whereas the 2005 amendment was only minor and affected only a few paragraphs.

A parallel effort has been made to draft a permanent Palestinian constitution for an independent state, but this was shelved in favor of amending the existing Basic Law.

About this site

This website presents a collection of various drafts and amendments related to the Basic Law and other constitutional texts that have been compiled from various other sources.

You can also expect to find links to news items and reports that are of relevance to Palestinian constitutional law, the electoral framework, political reform and the PA branches of government.

The website was created by the Norwegian journalists Erik Bolstad and Tonje M. Viken in February 2008. The site is a private initiative and has no affiliation to any organizations or authorities.

All external links are purely for information purposes and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of this site.

Information and contact details.