Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Hamas Rejects Palestinian Authority’s Call for Elections

Hamas Rejects Palestinian Authority’s Call for Elections

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 08:30
A Palestinian casts his vote at a polling station in the West Bank city of Nablus, Saturday, May 13, 2017. (AP)

Hamas politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahar rejected as “unacceptable” on Tuesday the Palestinian Authority’s call to hold elections strictly for the Legislative Council, because it means other polls will not be held.

“This decision will deepen the ongoing internal division,” he added during a political seminar.

He instead called for general elections to elect a president and members of the National Council, saying the elections must be staged on the same day, with guarantees from all Palestinian factions and residents of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to ensure the highest degree of real representation.

He warned against holding "partial" elections, saying any party that agrees to that would be responsible for the division.

Zahar stressed the need to stage National Council elections to choose the people’s representatives, warning against vote rigging.

For the general elections, he urged parties to invite international institutions to monitor in the process to ensure transparency.

Zahar’s statements confirm the division between the PA and Hamas after President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to hold general elections. He has since launched a series of internal meetings to prepare them. He is likely to encounter obstacles in Jerusalem and Gaza.

Fatah wants elections to ensure an end to the internal division, on the basis that whoever wins will rule the West Bank and Gaza.

Sec-Gen of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat stressed that no one can deprive “us from returning to the will of the people to hold free, direct and fair elections under full international supervision.”

Erekat said during a press conference in Ramallah that the Palestinian leadership in its recent meetings chaired by Abbas has agreed to hold general, legislative and presidential elections.

Hanna Nasser was assigned as head of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission and will travel to Gaza next week to hold talks with the leaders of Hamas and other factions.

Erekat reiterated that no person or political movement shall deprive the Palestinian people of choosing their representatives, adding that: "We understand that there are personalities, movements or parties that do not want to join the elections.”

Erekat pointed out that he has met with representatives of diplomatic missions and briefed them on the latest developments related to the polls. He also explained that elections were held in the Palestinian territories in 1996, 2005 and 2006, hoping Israel will not obstruct the latest polls.

Erekat stressed that the elections must be held in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Editor Picks