A Hamas boycott prevented the Palestinian Parliament from convening. The boycott deprived the Parliament of the required quorum, preventing the Hamas-led legislature from voting against the new emergency Cabinet that Abbas put together after Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip last month. The annual opening of Parliament, meant to pick a new speaker, was called off because Hamas lawmakers said it was illegal. Hamas has 74 members in the 132-seat Parliament. However, 41 Hamas legislators have been rounded up by Israel in the past year, leaving Fatah with an effective majority with its 42 legislators. Only 44 lawmakers from the 132-seat chamber showed up at the session in Ramallah. At least 67 deputies must be present for Parliament to meet.
Abbas sacked the Hamas-led unity government on June 14, declared emergency in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and formed an emergency government led by Salam Fayyad after Hamas seized control of Gaza following bloody clashes with Abbas’s Fatah movement. After the end of the 30-day emergency state, Fayyad on Friday, July 13 tendered his resignation to Abbas who commissioned him to form a new caretaker government. But, under the Basic Law, the state of emergency cannot last longer than 30 days without the approval of the parliament. Senior lawyers who wrote the Basic Law said that Abbas exceeded his powers and trampled on the code of laws. Though entitled to sack the prime minister and declare emergency, Abbas cannot form an emergency government without parliamentary approval, according to the Basic Law.