Critics charge Abbas’ new judicial body is stacked with supporters.
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Critics say the body is packed with jurists from Abbas' Fatah party and risks deepening Palestinian political divisions. Fatah says it is Abbas's right to create the court, which it says is independent of the 81-year-old president.Abbas's decision comes at a time of worsening splits between Fatah and Hamas and as questions are raised about what will happen when the president steps down or if he were to die in office without a successor.In theory, the speaker of parliament, a Hamas member, would take over as president on an interim basis were Abbas to die in office, although Fatah disputes whether that remains constitutional.Palestinian commentators also see the court, whose decisions would be binding on the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, as a means of bolstering presidential authority and marginalizing Hamas. All nine members are either Fatah members or seen by Hamas and others as being allied with Fatah.
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