Abbas names Palestinian poll date 23Oct09 October 24, 2009

Aljazeera – 23 October 2009


Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has announced presidential and legislative elections will be held on January 24.

The announcement on Friday said elections will be held across the Palestinian territories including the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Hamas officials quickly branded the election decree “illegal” and said the move strikes a blow to reconciliation efforts.

The president’s Fatah movement was unable to reach a unity deal with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, despite more than a year of negotiations.

“This is an illegal and unconstitutional step because Abu Mazen’s [Abbas's] tenure is over and he has no right to issue any decree concerning this [election],” Fawzi Barhum, a Hamas spokesman, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

He said the move by Abbas, whose presidential term expired in early 2009, was a “deliberate attempt to make [Palestinian] divisions permanent”.

But an official close to Abbas said there was still time to avoid an open clash.

“If we reach to an agreement, the election date can be rescheduled,” he said.

Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Ramallah, said: “The January 24 date was agreed on by all factions in Cairo. This is not a date that someone has pulled out of their pocket.

“However, Egypt [which is mediating the unity talks] had asked that these elections be postponed till June, and that was agreed to by all parties provided that all factions sign the unity deal that was presented.”

Fatah has approved the Egyptian-mediated deal, but Hamas is yet to sign it.

If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address