Palestine: Abbas Forms Committee to Follow Up on Elections
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a committee from Fatah Central Committee to discuss and follow up on the general elections in the Palestinian territories.
Member of Fatah’s central committee, Samir al-Rifai, said the committee was formed at the meeting chaired by Abbas, which is supposed to be followed by meetings of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Rifai stressed that the task of the Commission is to study the elections.
Abbas looks forward to a plan for holding the general elections in the Palestinian territories, including in Israeli-controlled Jerusalem and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The President plans to issue a decree to announce general elections, but he will send the head of the Palestinian elections commission to Gaza for consultations and will wait to assess the position on the possibility of conducting polls there, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) will press for it in Jerusalem.
At the beginning of the Fatah meeting, Abbas said: “We will discuss the elections, preparations for holding it and measures that will be taken to achieve this goal.”
Members of the executive committee, including Ahmad Majdalani and Wasel Abu Youssef, said holding elections is the best solution to end the division.
But the PA faces potential complications in Gaza, with Hamas requiring elections to include the Palestinian National Council, and in Jerusalem where Israel is believed to prevent elections as a sovereign activity.
Hamas had agreed to hold the elections, but conditioned it with the reconciliation and the inclusion of the National Council in the elections.
Member of Hamas politburo, Khalil al-Hayya, said his movement wants comprehensive general elections, and welcomes both presidential and legislative elections.
He pointed out that the elections serve to solve crises and problems, noting that they are ready for such a milestone event and to accept the result given by the ballot boxes.
Hayya noted that Hamas would seek guarantees that Fatah will accept election results whatever they may be, hoping they wouldn’t repeat the case of 2006 when Hamas won but results were overturned.
He added: “We will support legislative and presidential elections if announced. We prefer these elections to be held following a national consensus and we challenge Fatah and [President] Abbas to announce it.”