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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fayyad's resignation is a crisis for Abu Mazen - but does he recognize it?

There's an interesting analysis in the 'Palestinian' Maan daily explaining why the resignation of Salam Fayyad is a crisis for 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen .This is from the first link.
But Fayyad’s loss has severe consequences outside the internal Fatah struggle. First, it will remove the minimal but sole aspect of non-Fatah checks and balances on the political system.

The resignation will also further expose Abbas and Fatah to public criticism at a time when there is a great deal of internal turmoil -- over the budget, over the government’s political program and over the remaining division with Hamas. Among his other roles, Fayyad was a buffer zone, providing Abbas and Fatah with a shield against the intensifying domestic unrest.

Moreover, President Abbas seems to have difficulties choosing from the various options he now has before him. The option of choosing a Fatah prime minister is like opening a Pandora’s box of rivalries, jealousies and fiefdoms. He could also appoint an independent personality as a prime minister. That seems difficult, however, because he does not have a qualified candidate, and more importantly, because a growing number of Fatah leaders do not want to repeat the Fayyad phenomenon, believing that it is time for Fatah to run the government directly. Likewise, a compromise with Fayyad is not possible, as the prime minister seems unwilling to let the status quo drag on indefinitely, without elections.

The relatively “best” option is for Abbas to implement the signed but stalled agreement with Hamas, which stipulates forming a government of independent (non-Fatah and non-Hamas) ministers headed by President Abbas for six to 12 months, during which elections should take place. That would be the most popular option. The Palestinian public seems to strongly support ending the political and geographic division that has sullied their cause since the fractious fighting between Hamas and Fatah came to the fore.

The price of this option, however, would be going against the US administration, which has just renewed political efforts that President Abbas is keen on pursuing. (One must say, however, that the bleak scenery in Israel after its recent elections means that there really isn’t an opportunity to be missed here.)

Not liking any of these three options, Abbas seems to be resorting again to his favorite magic solution: not doing anything. In this case, Fayyad and his government will remain de facto caretakers -- no new prime minister has been appointed -- for as long as possible, or until it is politically feasible to appoint him again to form the next government.
I would bet that Salam Fayyad will be Prime Minister for a long time. And I would bet that Abu Mazen has no problem with that.

What could go wrong?

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