Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders have set September 15-16 as the dates for their first Palestine National Council congress in nearly 20 years, which will be held in Ramallah. This comes as a result of PA President Mahmoud Abbas announcing his resignation last week.
“It has been decided to ask the Palestine National Council (PNC) to convene for a session on the upcoming 15th and 16th September in Ramallah,” said senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmad. “The council’s agenda includes electing a new executive committee for the (Palestine Liberation Organization).”
Salim al-Zanoun, chairman of the PNC, announced in a press statement that the meeting agreed to contact a total of 740 PNC members in order to ensure that at least 450 members, constituting a quorum, will attend the session. Many of the members live outside of the region, in other countries.
Ahmad says the congress will also discuss the stalemate in peace talks with Israel, among other issues.
Many predict that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is the most likely successor to Abbas. It should be noted that Abbas was elected in November 2004 to serve a four year term but chose not to step down.
He will be retiring amidst accusations of massive corruption. Yaaser Arafat’s financial adviser, Mohammed Rashid, claimed that Abbas has amassed a personal fortune of well over $100 million dollars.