Abbas says to issue decree for Jan polls in Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would issue a decree on Sunday to hold elections by Jan. 24.

Abbas says to issue decree for Jan polls in Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday he would issue a decree on Sunday to hold elections by Jan. 24.

"Based on the constitution, we are obliged to issue a decree on Oct. 25 to hold presidential and parliamentary elections before Jan. 24, and we will issue it," Abbas said after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Abbas had said last week that he would hold elections as planned in January unless Hamas agreed to the reconciliation deal, which would delay the polls until June.

"He (Abbas) is just manoeuvring and exerting pressure," said Hasan Nafaa, political science professor at Cairo University.

"If he holds the elections without Hamas, he will be the ruler of the West Bank only, and therefore he will decrease his legitimacy as a president of the Palestinian Authority."

Delegations from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas movement that controls Gaza held several rounds of unity talks under Egyptian mediation.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in January 2006, ending a near-monopoly on power by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its dominant faction, Fatah. The government Hamas formed was subject to a crippling boycott by Western aid donors, leading to a unity government between Hamas and Fatah in 2007.

Egypt had invited Fatah and Hamas to attend a ceremony later this month in Cairo to sign the reconciliation pact.

But Hamas asked for a postponement and said it was angered after Abbas's government approved a U.N. decision to delay action on the Goldstone report, which accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza.

Abbas, who has said his government erred in approving the delay, has reversed course and the issue was being reconsidered at a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, which he requested.

Under the proposed reconciliation, a committee of Palestinian groups would act as a liaison between the Fatah-dominated government in the West Bank and Hamas, and a joint police force would be formed.

Reuters
Last Mod: 21 Ekim 2009, 08:11
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