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Is Abbas tightening his grip on power with new constitutional court?

The establishment of the Palestinian High Constitutional Court by presidential decree has led to widespread criticism concerning its legality, especially since the move came at a time of intense division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) chairs a meeting with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's’ (PLO) executive committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool - RTS8TEU
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On April 3, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree establishing the first Palestinian High Constitutional Court, to follow up on the rules and regulations as well as the constitutionality of laws and define the powers of the three authorities.

The new court's president is Judge Mohammad Abdul-Ghani Ahmad al-Haj Kassem, and the vice president is Judge Asaad Boutros. The other members of the court are Judges Abdul-Rahman Abu Nasr, Fathi Abdul-Nabi al-Wahidi, Fathi Hammouda Abu Srour, Hatem Abbas Salahuddin, Rafiq Isa Abu Ayyash, Adnan Mutlaq Abu Layla and Fawwaz Taysir Sayme.

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