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Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Outgoing lawmakers give Abbas extended powers

February 14, 2006

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— Lame-duck Palestinian lawmakers held an eleventh-hour session Monday to give Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas new powers just days before the Islamist militant group Hamas takes control of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The last-minute changes dismayed Hamas leaders, who denounced the session. It also created political fissures as the incoming Islamist lawmakers try to enlist the defeated Fatah party in a coalition government.

The Fatah-dominated legislature voted to give Abbas unilateral power to appoint members of a new constitutional court.

Monday's session was the culmination of weeks of behind-the-scenes scrambling by Abbas allies who were looking for ways to bolster the president's power in the wake of the Hamas victory.

The new Hamas-led council is slated to be sworn in on Saturday.

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