Ramallah – In a position paper released yesterday evening on the legislative uncertainty caused by amendments to emergency regulations, the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) called on the Palestinian government to enhance transparency of the legislative process and hold to account the officials responsible for amending the Law on Public Retirement and Law on the Honoraria and Salaries of Members of the Legislative Council, Members of the Government and Governors. AMAN called for a public announcement, spelling out how both the amended regulations had been passed at this critical time. Legal action should be taken against those officials in view of broad community resentment and disruption of community safety.
AMAN recalled the attempt made to increase ministers’ salaries by the former government to take into account the lessons of the past and ensure that legislative disarray is not repeated. This should promote integrity, prevent encroachment on public funds, ward off violation of the right to equality, safeguard transparency, and hold accountable those persons to sought illicit gains. Uninformed regulations should not negatively impact the public trust recently placed in the Palestinian leadership and government.
In a positon paper sent to His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, AMAN proposed that any regulations should not be approved without broad community consultations. A public debate should bolster the current government’s new approach to transparency as a permanent working mechanism. Until such time a legislative council is elected and duly assumes legislative power, the broadest possible community engagement is essential to maintain the concept of “good legislation”. Based on the provisions of Article 69(9) of the Amended Basic Law, AMAN further called on the government to shoulder all its responsibilities towards public institutions and non-ministerial government bodies, including the appointment of relevant chairs. This should be respected in any regulations relating to these agencies.
AMAN officially requested that the President promulgate a law by decree, repealing both regulations in due form. Many provisions of these regulations impinge on public funds, violate the concept of equality, and involve circumvention by the persons who proposed them. These had the intent to seek illicit gains at the expense of public interest. Both regulations were effectively repealed early morning yesterday.
AMAN commended public outreach by the government. Still, transparency requires that the government maintain a transparent approach by making clear how the regulations in question had been approved. It needs to show how legal provisions, which outraged public opinion, had been passed so fraudulently. Persons how originally proposed these regulations should be revealed. The regulations have already disrupted community peace and safety during this exceptionally sensitive period.
Consolidating its position, AMAN cited some examples that need to be taken into consideration. AMAN recalled the President’s repeated announcements that he would not enact any law by decree before presentation to, and recommendation by, the Council of Ministers. AMAN also reminded of the government’s declaration that it would not recommend any laws by decrees before they are subject to public review and consultation. Both regulations were not publicly scrutinised, however.
Of particular note, AMAN as well as other (official and nonofficial) organisations held broad community consultations on amendments proposed earlier to the operative Law on Public Retirement and Law on Public Retirement and Law on the Honoraria and Salaries of Members of the Legislative Council, Members of the Government and Governors. Then, a community consensus warned against rushing into the approval of these amendments, further complicating retirement systems. Compared to others around the world, Palestinian systems of retirement are more complex and have more impact on the concept of equality. Reaffirming this position today, AMAN is of the view that it is inappropriate to propose any amendments to the retirement systems under the state of emergency, financial crisis, and precarious political situation of the question of Palestine.