A member of Fatah's Central Committee has again suggested that the movement needs to create the post of vice-president to protect the Palestinian national interest. Major-General Tawfiq Al-Tirawi said that this is important due to the continued disruption of the work of the Palestine Legislative Council and the need to cover for President Mahmoud Abbas should he be indisposed or resign from office.
Speaking to local media, General Al-Tirawi stressed that he has been requesting such an appointment for more than a year at meetings of the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council. "The advanced age of the president, at 75, makes it important for there to be a vice-president in post," he said.
Asked about the possibility of ex-Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan being appointed to the post as a gesture of reconciliation by President Abbas, Al-Tirawi replied, "This hasn't been tabled by anyone; it is just a rumour." He pointed out that the president and prime minister have their own roles so the absence of one or the other does not create a leadership vacuum.
Abbas is out of Palestine on an international tour at the moment. He met US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Sunday evening and with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday. The PA officials travelling with Abbas are seeking up to $500 million in aid from Europe to cover the authority's budget deficit.