PLO to keep Abbas president 16Dec09 December 17, 2009

Haaretz -  16 December 2009


The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) will on Wednesday indefinitely extend the tenure of Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, members of the PLO Central Council said.

Members of the body told Reuters that Abbas, whose term ends on Jan. 25, will stay on until elections can be held, extending until further notice the Western-backed leader’s presidency.

Presidential and legislative elections called for Jan. 24 were cancelled due to a ban imposed by the Hamas group on participation in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave, disputes Abbas’s legitimacy.

“There is consensus among the members that the president will remain in his post,” said Saleh Rafat, a member of the PLO Central Council that is meeting in Ramallah.

“This is not an issue of dispute at all.” A statement confirming the decision is due later on Wednesday.

Abbas has said he will not seek as second term as president, but no date has been set for a future vote.

Abbas’s rivals in the Islamist movement Hamas, which is not part of the PLO, have already declared as illegitimate any extension of the 74-year-old’s tenure as president.

Abbas replaced Yasser Arafat as head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority after his death in 2004.

Founded in 1964 and recognized internationally as the representative of the Palestinians, the PLO is dominated by Abbas’s Fatah party. The PLO Central Council created the Palestinian Authority in 1993 under interim peace accords with Israel.

The Central Council will also say there should be no resumption of peace talks with Israel until a halt to its settlement building in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, land the  Palestinians want as part of an independent state.

Abbas has been under pressure from the United States and the European Union to resume talks that have been frozen for the past year.

He has said a partial, 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement building announced by Israel last month is not enough for a resumption of peace negotiations.

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required, will not be published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