Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday he intended to dissolve the largely defunct Palestinian “parliament”, which is controlled by Hamas, following a court decision ordering the move, AFP reports.
Abbas did not say when the Ramallah-based Palestinian Constitutional Court issued the ruling that includes holding elections within six months of the Palestinian Legislative Council being dissolved.
"The issue reached the Constitutional Court which issued a verdict to dissolve the legislative council and call for legislative elections within six months, and this is what we must implement immediately," Abbas said during a meeting with members of the PA leadership in Ramallah, according to AFP.
The PA parliament has not met since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza from Abbas’ Fatah faction, but PA law allows for its speaker to act as interim president should 83-year-old Abbas die in office.
Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since the 2007 coup and all attempts to reconcile the warring sides have failed.
Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last October, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December of that year.
That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and had later reportedly hit “obstacles”. It has never been implemented and is one of many attempts that have failed over the years to ease the tensions between the two groups.
Egypt has been seeking to reconcile Hamas and Fatah, but a range of issues have kept the two sides apart, including Hamas's refusal to disarm its so-called “military wing”.
Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.