Hamas has stated that it will not acknowledge Abu Mazen’s legitimacy as President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after January 2009, when it believes his term in office is due to finish.
Hamas claims that new elections should be held in January 09′ since according to the PA’s Basic Law (which also serves as its temporary constitution) Abu Mazen finishes his Presidential term after 4 years. If elections are not held, the Presidency temporarily passes to the Speaker of the Parliament, Abd al-‘Aziz Dweik, who is currently held by Israel. If Dweik is not released, Hamas will appoint his deputy who is also a Hamas member.
Fatah meanwhile argue that elections should be held in January 2010 since the Palestinian election law calls for Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held simultaneously 4 years after the date of the later. (For more see Nathan Brown). Since the Parliamentary elections were held in 2006 (a year after the Presidential ones), new elections for both should be held in January 2010.
How will this constitutional crisis coupled with Abbas’ weakness, the growing popularity of Hamas and the current deadlock in the political process influence the ability of Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement on ‘The Two State Solution’?