Executive Committee (EC)

The Executive Committee (EC) is the primary executive organ of the PLO and represents the organisation at the international level. Its main function is to execute the policies and decisions set out by the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), and is responsible for adopting a budget.  Each member of the EC is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the PLO’s departments, similar to the role of ministers. Decisions of the EC are taken by a simple majority.

The current EC has 16 members, including its chairman. In 2009, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) was made permanent observer at EC meetings – re-enforcing the institutional connection between the PLO and PA.

The EC elected Mahmoud Abbas as its chairman in November 2004, following the death of Yasser Arafat. Since then, Abbas has continued to solidify his hold over the EC. In 2016, he reportedly froze PLO funds for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) following their increased criticism of his policies, especially regarding security coordination with Israel.

In May 2018, the PNC elected a new EC membership (including the renewal of 6 existing mandates). Abbas’s convening of the PNC to elect a new EC leadership was seen by analysts as an effort to consolidate his hold on power by promoting his supporters, while further marginalising political rivals.