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Palestinian PM Says Government Ready to Hold Elections

Palestinian PM Says Government Ready to Hold Elections

Tuesday, 1 October, 2019 - 07:45
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. (AFP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the government was ready to hold general elections as soon as a presidential decree was issued on the matter.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the president of the Central Election Commission, Hanna Nasser, to go to the Gaza Strip to begin consultation on elections.

He added that a ministerial delegation is going to travel to Cairo to discuss economic cooperation.

Shtayyeh also thanked Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria and Qatar for their support for the Palestinian people and the $50 million support provided by Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds Funds during its 76th annual meeting held Sunday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to implement development projects in Palestine.

Shtayyeh’s declaration about his government's readiness for polls follows another announcement by the central electoral commission saying it was technically ready to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories, excluding Jerusalem.

Abbas, in his speech at the UN General Assembly last week, had reaffirmed that he will call for general elections to be held in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. But Jerusalem is likely to be dropped because Israeli authorities will not allow voters there to participate in elections held by the Palestinian Authority.

“Holding elections is not a new proposal…the idea was put forward dozens of times, and during the last period, it was discussed with Egypt which will mediate it to all factions, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” Fatah deputy chief Mahmoud al-Aloul said.

“The issue is very important in this period, especially because it has to do with the reconciliation, which has reached a stalemate,” he added.

Shtayyeh, for his part, said: “If we cannot reach reconciliation, then we need to go back to the Palestinian people to restore democracy to the Palestinian institution and to make the Palestinian people the judge in any dispute.”

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