The Council of Ministers (the “government”) is the highest executive and administrative instrument; it shoulders the responsibility for implementing the program that has been approved by the legislative branch. Except for the executive powers of the President of the National Authority, as specified in this Basic Law, executive and administrative powers shall be within the competence of the Council of Ministers.
1. The Council of Ministers shall comprise a Prime Minister and a number of Ministers, not to exceed twenty-four (24) in number.
2. The appointment shall identify to which Ministry each Minister shall be assigned.
Formation of the Government
1. Once appointed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority, the Prime Minister shall form a government within three weeks of the date of appointment. There shall be a right to an extension of a maximum of two weeks.
2. If the Prime Minister fails to form a government within the stated deadline or does not obtain the confidence of the Legislative Council, then the President of the National Authority shall appoint another Prime Minister within two weeks of the passing of the deadline or the date of the confidence session, whichever applies. Provisions contained in the above paragraph 1 shall apply to the new Prime Minister.
Confidence in the Government
1. Once the Prime Minister selects the members of the government, the Prime Minister shall submit a request to the Legislative Council to hold a special session for a vote of confidence. The vote of confidence shall take place after hearing and discussing the written ministerial declaration which specifies the program and policy of the government. The session shall be held no later than one week from the date of submission of the request.
2. The vote of confidence shall be cast for the Prime Minister and the members of the government together, unless the absolute majority of the members of the Legislative Council decides otherwise.
3. Confidence shall be granted to the government if it obtains the affirmative vote of the absolute majority of the Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
After obtaining the vote of confidence and before assuming their offices, the Prime Minister and members of the government shall take the constitutional oath, stipulated in Article 35 of this Basic Law, before the President of the National Authority.
Powers of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister shall exercise the following powers:
1. To form or modify the composition of the Council of Ministers, to dismiss or accept the resignation of any of its members, or to fill a vacant position.
2. To convene the Council of Ministers for weekly meetings, or when necessary, or upon a request from the President of the National Authority, as well as to set its agenda.
3. To preside over sessions of the Council of Ministers.
4. To manage the affairs of the Council of Ministers.
5. To oversee the work of the Ministers and public institutions dependent on the government.
6. To issue necessary decisions within the Prime Minister’s competence in accordance with the law.
7. To sign and issue regulations approved by the Council of Ministers.
8. The Prime Minister shall appoint a Minister to serve as deputy and to assume the duties of the Prime Minister, if the Prime Minister is absent.
Powers of the Council of Ministers
he Council of Ministers shall exercise the following powers:
1. To devise general policies within the limits of its jurisdiction and in light of the ministerial program approved by the Legislative Council.
2. To implement general policies adopted by the relevant Palestinian authorities.
3. To prepare the general budget for presentation to the Legislative Council.
4. To prepare the administrative apparatus, set its structure and provide it with all necessary means, as well as to supervise it and follow up on it.
5. To follow up on the implementation of laws and to ensure compliance with their provisions, taking necessary actions in this regard.
6. To supervise the performance of the ministries and all other components of the administrative apparatus in respect of their duties and functions, as well as to coordinate between them.
7. To be responsible for maintaining public order and internal security.
8. To discuss with various governmental bodies relevant to paragraphs 6 and 7 above their proposals and policies with regard to implementation of their respective responsibilities.
9. (a) To establish or dissolve agencies, institutions, authorities and similar administrative units belonging to the executive apparatus of the government, provided that each shall be regulated by law. (b) To appoint heads of institutions and agencies mentioned above in subparagraph (a), and to supervise them in accordance with the provisions of the law.
10. To specify the respective areas of responsibilities of all ministries, agencies and institutions, that report to the executive branch, and others of similar status.
11. To assume any other responsibility assigned to it, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The Council of Ministers shall have the right to transmit draft laws to the Legislative Council, to issue regulations and to take necessary actions to implement laws.
Each Minister shall exercise the following powers and functions within their respective ministry:
1. To propose the general policy for the ministry and to supervise its implementation after approval.
2. To supervise the conduct of affairs in the ministry and to issue necessary instructions therefore.
3. To implement the general budget within the funds allocated for the ministry.
4. To propose bills and legislation related to the ministry and to present them to the Council of Ministers.
5. A Minister may delegate certain powers to a Deputy Minister or to other senior officers in the ministry, within limits set by the law.
Each Minister shall submit detailed reports to the Council of Ministers on the activities, policies, plans and achievements of their respective ministry in comparison with the objectives specified for the ministry within the framework of the General Plan, including the ministry’s proposals and recommendations concerning its future policies.
These reports shall be submitted regularly every three months, so that the Council of Ministers remains well informed and has sufficient information about the activities and policies of each ministry.
Meetings of the Council of Ministers
1. Upon invitation of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers shall meet periodically every week, or whenever necessary. Persons other than Ministers may not attend these meetings, unless there is a prior invitation from the Prime Minister.
2. The meetings of the Council of Ministers shall be documented.
Accountability of the Prime Minister and Ministers
1. The Prime Minister is accountable to the President of the National Authority for his actions and the actions of his government.
2. Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister, each within the limits of their jurisdiction and for the actions of their respective ministry.
3. The Prime Minister and members of the government are jointly and individually accountable to the Legislative Council.
1. The President of the National Authority shall have the right to refer the Prime Minister for investigation as a result of crimes attributed to the Prime Minister during, or due to, the performance of official duties, in accordance with the provisions of law.
2. The Prime Minister shall have the right to refer any Minister for investigation based on any of the reasons mentioned in the above paragraph 1, in accordance with the provisions of law.
1. Any accused Minister shall be suspended from the performance of official duties immediately upon the issuance of an indictment. The termination of service shall not prevent continuing the investigation or follow-up procedures.
2. The Attorney General, or a representative from the Public Prosecution, shall undertake the investigation and indictment procedures. If a trial ensues, it shall be conducted before an appropriate tribunal and shall follow the provisions and procedures prescribed in the Penal Code and in the Law of Criminal Procedure.
3. The above provisions shall apply to Deputy Ministers, Assistant Ministers and others of similar rank.
Vote of No Confidence
1. A minimum of ten Members of the Legislative Council may submit a request to the Speaker to hold a special session to withdraw confidence from the government or from any Minister after an investigation.
2. The date of the first session shall be specified three days after the date of submitting the request. The session shall not be held later than two weeks after the date of the request.
1. A vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and the government shall require an absolute majority of the Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
2. A vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and the government shall result in the termination of their term.
3. Upon the completion of the term of the Prime Minister and the government, they will temporarily exercise their powers in the capacity of a caretaker government, during which they may make decisions only insofar as they are necessary for the conduct of executive affairs until a new government is formed.
1. In case the Legislative Council, by an absolute majority, casts a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, or in the Prime Minister and the members of the government collectively, the President of the National Authority shall present a new Prime Minister who will take over from the former within a period not to exceed two weeks from the date of the vote of no confidence. The new Prime Minister shall be subject to the provisions of this title.
2. In case the Legislative Council casts a vote of no confidence in one or more members of the government, the Prime Minister shall present the new member or members to the following session, provided that it takes place within two weeks of the date of the no confidence vote.
3. (a) Any addition or change that affects a portfolio, a Minister, or more than a Minister shall be considered a ministerial reshuffle, so long as it affects less than one-third of the members of the Council of Ministers. (b) Upon a ministerial reshuffle, the addition of a Minister, or the filling of a vacancy, for any reason, the new Minister or Ministers shall be presented at the very next session of the Legislative Council, which shall occur no later than two weeks from the date of the reshuffle or the occurrence of the vacancy, for a vote of confidence in accordance with the provisions of this article.
4. Neither the Prime Minister nor any of the Ministers shall assume their duties until they have obtained the confidence of the Legislative Council.
Financial Liability of Members of Council of Ministers
1. The Prime Minister and each Minister shall submit a financial statement for themselves, their spouse and their minor children that details what they own in real estate, movable property, stocks, bonds, cash money and debts, whether inside Palestine or abroad, to the President of the National Authority, who shall make the necessary arrangements to maintain their secrecy. Such information shall remain confidential and may not be accessed unless permitted by the High Court when necessary.
2. Neither the Prime Minister nor any Minister may purchase or lease any property belonging to the State or to any public entity, or have a financial interest in any contract concluded with any governmental or administrative body, nor may they, during their terms of office, be board members in any company, or practice commerce or any other profession, or receive a salary or any other financial reward or remuneration from any person in any capacity whatsoever, other than the single salary determined for Ministers and the relevant allowances.
Remuneration and Allowances of Prime Minister and Ministers
Remuneration and allowances for the Prime Minister, Ministers and others of similar rank shall be determined by the law.
The appointed Prime Minister and all Ministers shall be Palestinians who enjoy full civil and political rights.
The government shall be considered dissolved and shall be reformed in accordance with the provisions of this title in the following cases:
1. Upon the commencement of a new term of the Legislative Council.
2. After a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, in the Prime Minister and the government, or in one-third or more of the total number of Ministers.
3. Upon any addition, change, vacancy, or dismissal that involves at least one-third of the Council of Ministers.
4. Upon the death of the Prime Minister.
5. Upon the resignation of the Prime Minister, or the resignation of one-third or more of the members of government.
6. Upon the dismissal of the Prime Minister by the President of the National Authority.
Security Forces and Police
1. The Security Forces and the Police are regular forces. They are the armed forces in the country. Their functions are limited to defending the country, serving the people, protecting society and maintaining public order, security and public morals. They shall perform their duties within the limits prescribed by law, with complete respect for rights and freedoms.
2. The law shall regulate the Security Forces and the Police.
1. The law shall organize the country into local administrative units, which shall enjoy juridical personality. Each unit shall have a council elected directly, as prescribed by law.
2. The law shall specify the areas of responsibility of the local administrative units, their financial resources, their relations with the central authority and their role in the preparation and implementation of development plans. The law shall specify the aspects of oversight over these units and their various activities.
3. Demographic, geographic, economic and political parameters shall be taken into consideration at the time of defining the administrative divisions so as to preserve the territorial unity of the homeland and the interests of the communities therein.
The appointment of all public officials and governmental staff, and the conditions of their employment, shall be in accordance with the law.
The law shall regulate all affairs related to civil service. The Civil Service Department shall, in coordination with the relevant governmental bodies, upgrade and develop public administration. Its advice shall be sought upon drafting laws and regulations that deal with public administration and civil servants.
Public taxes and duties shall be imposed, amended and repealed only by law. No one may be totally or partially exempted, except in circumstances prescribed by law.
The law shall state the provisions concerning the collection of public funds and the procedures for spending therefrom.
The law shall specify the beginning and the end of the fiscal year, and shall regulate the public budget. If the public budget is not approved by the beginning of the new fiscal year, expenditures shall continue on the basis of a monthly allocation of one-twelfth (1/12) of the previous fiscal year’s budget, for each month.
1. All revenues received – including taxes, duties, loans, grants and profits accruing to the Palestinian National Authority from managing its property or activities – shall be paid to the Public Treasury. No part of the Public Treasury funds may be allocated or spent for any purpose whatsoever except in accordance with the law.
2. In accordance with the provisions of law, the Palestinian National Authority may form a strategic financial reserve, to encounter fluctuations and emergency situations.
Public borrowing shall be concluded by law. It is not permitted to commit to a project which would require spending funds from the Public Treasury at a later stage unless approved by the Legislative Council.
1. The law shall regulate the Monetary Authority, banks, the securities market, foreign exchange and insurance companies and all financial and credit institutions.
2. The Governor of the Monetary Authority shall be appointed per a decision issued by the President of the National Authority and endorsed by the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The law shall specify rules and procedures for granting privileges or imposing obligations related to the utilization of natural resources and public facilities. The law shall also detail the ways and means of dealing with real estate owned by the state and other public legal personalities, and the rules and procedures regulating them.
The law shall specify the rules for granting wages, remuneration, pensions, subsidies and allowances incurring to the state’s treasury. The law shall also specify the bodies that will be responsible for their implementation. No exceptional funds shall be spent except within limits specified legally.
1. A Financial and Administrative Auditing Bureau shall be established by law to provide financial and administrative oversight to all apparatus and bodies of the National Authority, which shall include monitoring the collection of public revenues and spending therefrom, within the limits of the budget.
2. The Bureau shall submit to the President of the National Authority and to the Legislative Council a report annually, or upon request, about its work and observations.
3. The Chief of the Financial and Administrative Auditing Bureau shall be appointed pursuant to a decision issued by the President of the National Authority and endorsed by the Palestinian Legislative Council.