Palestine: Political structure

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, Summary, Political structure
Political Geography

The Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is the overarching political authority, encompassing an executive arm (the cabinet) and a legislative arm (the Palestinian Legislative Council; PLC). Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the president of the PA and remains in office with the backing of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), although his term technically expired on January 9th 2009, and the presidential election has been postponed repeatedly since then


Following a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, a new united government was supposed to be formed by December 2017. However, the deadline was missed and the government stayed in office until January 2019, when it resigned en masse. A new cabinet was announced in April 2019, led by a long-term Fatah loyalist, Mohammad Shtayyeh, as prime minister


The 132-member PLC is directly elected on a multi-member constituency basis. The detention of PLC members by Israel and the Hamas-Fatah split have prevented a quorum of 71 from assembling since mid-2007, and the PLC has therefore not convened since then. Its term technically expired on January 24th 2010, but parliamentary elections have been repeatedly delayed

National elections

In the January 2005 presidential election, which Hamas did not contest, Mr Abbas (Fatah) won 62% of the vote. In the January 2006 legislative election Hamas won 56% of the seats. Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold belated presidential and PLC elections before the end of 2018; this deadline was missed. The PA president announced parliamentary elections for May 22nd 2021, but these have been postponed, and a presidential election scheduled for July is also likely to be postponed again and to be held in or after 2022

Main political groupings

The PLO is an umbrella group for a number of long-established nationalist factions, including Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Two key Islamist groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are outside the PLO. Another faction is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Several new parties were formed for the 2006 elections, including Badil, Independent Palestine, Third Way and the Palestinian National Initiative

PA cabinet

Palestinian Authority president: Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah)

Prime minister & acting interior minister: Mohammad Shtayyeh (Fatah)

Deputy prime minister & information: Nabil Abu Rudeinah

Deputy prime minister: Ziad Abu Amr

Agriculture: Riad Atari

Construction & housing: Mohammad Ziyara

Economy: Khaled Ossaili

Education: Marwan Awartani

Finance & planning: Shukri Bishara

Foreign affairs: Riyadh al-Maliki

Health: Mai Kaileh

Jerusalem: Fadi Hidmi

Justice: Mohammed Shalaldeh

Labour: Nasri Abu Jish

Local government: Majdi Saleh

Secretary-general of cabinet: Ali Mahmoud Abdullah Abu Diak

Tourism: Rula Maayah

Transport: Assem Salem

Parliamentary speaker

Aziz Duwaik (Hamas)

Central bank governor

Azzam Shawwa

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