PLO parliament agrees to measure concentrating Abbas powers

The PLO parliament is preparing to hand its authority over to a smaller council in a move seen as a concentration of power in the hands of President Mahmoud Abbas's loyalists.

The Palestinian National Council agreed Thursday to grant the 115-member Central Council authority to assume the political body's powers, such as appointing a successor to the 83-year-old Palestinian leader and resolving the decade-long rift with the rival Hamas party ruling Gaza.

Abbas aide Ahmad Majdalani says the move will "make it easier for the PLO to handle political developments, and to fill any vacuum in PLO positions."

The Palestinian National Council, which met this week for the first time in over two decades, was set to formally announce the measure Thursday evening.