As the Palestinian Legislative Council held its first official session Monday, Fatah party member Abu Ali Shahin said that he considers what he saw in the session to be a true democracy.
Among the decisions made by the Palestinian Legislative Council Monday was a measure that cancels all decisions made in the last session of the former Palestinian Legislative Council, citing corruption scandals and self-serving laws like unnecessary salary increases for legislators as reasons for the decision.
The Council also overturned a measure made in the last month of the former Legislative Council session to turn over unprecedented powers to the executive branch of the Palestinian Authority, governed by President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas and his advisors saw this move as a challenge to their power. Said Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, "We see this as a coup attempt to change the regime and they [Hamas] have to seriously reconsider their decisions."
Fatah members had earlier walked out of the first working session of the new parliament on Monday in protest after Hamas began steps to revoke the previous decisions.
During the voting, a dozen Fatah gunmen walked near the parliament building in Gaza City, firing in the air. However, the protesters eventually headed to a nearby meeting of Fatah leaders, demanding that their party not join a Hamas government. One masked gunman said any Fatah politician joining a Hamas government would be killed.
But Legislator Abu Ali Shahin, of the Fatah Party, was optimistic about the coming legislative term, noting that there are some issues which are considered of great sensitivity to Palestinian public opinion, and that such issues should not be discussed publicly in legislative sessions.