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Abbas Seeks Hamas's Approval to Participate in Parliamentary Elections

Abbas Seeks Hamas's Approval to Participate in Parliamentary Elections

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 07:00
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses reporters after a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium, February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Ramallah - Kifah Ziboun
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to persuade Hamas to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, after the dissolution of the legislative council, a Palestinian official said.

A member of Fatah Movement Central Committee, Hussein Sheikh, confirmed that Abbas asked the head of the Central Election Commission, Hanna Nasser, to visit Gaza in order to launch dialogue with Hamas leadership and call on the officials to accept to participate in the parliamentary elections.

Speaking to the Palestinian official channel, Sheikh said: “The president told Dr. Hanna Nasser that he was also ready to form a national joint list in any future elections involving Hamas,” and quoted the president as saying: “Whoever wins, will lead the country.”

Hamas did not immediately respond to Fatah’s invitation. Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement would wait for developments before declaring a position in this regard.

However, Hamas political bureau member, Moussa Abu Marzouk, hinted at the possibility of the movement’s approval of the elections, if they included the Palestine Liberation Organization
and the presidency. Abu Marzouk, on the other hand, rejected the proposal to form a single electoral list with Fatah and the factions, as it would invalidate freedom of choice.

The attempt to hold elections came upon a decision by the Palestinian Constitutional Court, which also included the dissolution of the legislative council.

“The next phase is that of the battle of Jerusalem, and we will not allow any elections without it,” Sheikh said. “Elections must include the entire Palestinian territory.”

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the elections could be held in different stages, provided that they would first start in Jerusalem.

“Without Jerusalem, the elections will be postponed,” the sources emphasized.

Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Ashtiyeh said that the Palestinian people had the right to choose their representatives through free and fair elections.

In remarks to Reuters, he noted that his movement was ready to hold elections and respected the choice of the people. He called on Israel to abide by the relevant agreements and to allow the holding of elections, similar to those of 1996 and 2006.

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