Abbas Calls Snap Polls, Gov't Rejects

President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, called for snap presidential and legislative election to resolve the spiraling crisis.

Abbas Calls Snap Polls, Gov't Rejects

"I decided to call for early presidential and legislative elections," Abbas said to applause during an eagerly awaited speech in Ramallah, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"Basic law stipulates that the people are the source of power," he said. "Let the people have their say and decide."

"I will talk as quickly as possible with the central elections commission to launch the preparations" for the ballot, he said.

Abbas said that the elections should be held at the earliest opportunity.

A close aide to Abbas said that the elections were expected to take place within three months.

"The early elections will take place between now and three months," said Yasser Abed Rabbo.

"All legal opposition to these elections will be examined in conformity with the president's powers."

But Saeb Erekat, another Abbas's aide, said elections could not be held before the middle of next year for legal and technical reasons, according to Reuters.

He said Abbas first had to issue a presidential decree to provide a framework for the early polls. After that, voter rolls would need some 90 days to be updated.

The Palestinian basic law, which acts as a constitution, has no provision for calling early elections.

Fatah officials say Abbas can do so by issuing a presidential decree. Hamas says that would be illegal.

Abbas was elected separately in early 2005 in a presidential poll that Hamas did not contest.

Hamas crushed Abbas's Fatah group in the January parliamentary elections, winning absolute majority.

The current Palestinian parliament was elected in January and is due to remain in office until the end of 2010.


However, Abbas left the door open to forming a government of national unity with Hamas and avoiding early polls.

"A national unity government composed of technocrats remained the first priority," he said.

He added that in the interim period, all efforts should be made to form technocrat unity government that could lift Western siege imposed on the Palestinian people.

The United States and European Union suspended all direct aid to the Palestinians after the Hamas-led government took power in March, demanding that Hamas recognizes Israel and agree to abide by past peace deals -- conditions Hamas has steadfastly rejected.

Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas labored for months to reach a power-sharing agreement. But the talks failed late last month after they failed to agree on a joint political program and share of key portfolios.

Israel immediately voiced support to Abbas's call.

"The Israeli government supports moderate Palestinians who manage to negotiate with Israel without resorting to violence. Abu Mazen (Abbas) is this type of leader," government spokeswoman Miri Eisin told AFP.

"We hope that he will be able to assert his authority over all of the Palestinian people."

Inter-factional tension has been at its worst in a decade over Hamas-Fatah failure to forge a unity government.

In recent violence, security forces loyal to Abbas wounded 32 Hamas supporters in Ramallah on Friday when they fired on protesters. Gun battles between the factions also erupted in Gaza.

Hamas on Friday, December 15, accused Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan of "attempted murder" after an attack on Prime Minister Ismail Haniya's convoy.

"This call is against the will of the Palestinian people who voted for Hamas in the parliamentary elections," Zahar said


The ruling Hamas movement urged Palestinians to take to the streets in protest at Abbas's call.

"We are going to make many, many demonstrations to prove to the president we have the majority and that this call for early elections is not acceptable to the Palestinian people," Ahmed Yussef, a political advisor to Haniya, told AFP.

"We will start from today. Today there are going to be big demonstrations in all towns and cities to reject this call," Yussef said.

Earlier, the Palestinian government rejected Abbas's call for snap elections as "coup d'etat."

"The government rejects the appeal by Abu Mazen (Abbas) for early elections, as these violate the constitution and represent a coup d'etat against the will of the Palestinian people," a government statement said.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar also slammed Abbas's call.

"We reject any early elections," he told the Doha-based Al-Jazeera channel.

"This call is against the will of the Palestinian people who voted for Hamas in the parliamentary elections," he added.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16