Legislative elections in Palestine are expected to be held in February if there are no obstacles to that, announced Central Elections Commission Executive Director Hisham Kahil.
Kahil told the state-owned Palestine Radio that President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to issue a decree to hold legislative elections in February, to be followed by presidential elections.
On Sunday, the Commission’s delegation will head to Gaza Strip to inform Hamas and all factions on the President’s decision to move forward in calling for elections. The delegation will then head back to Ramallah to inform Abbas of the meeting’s results.
Both Fatah and Hamas doubt elections will be successful in Gaza and Jerusalem.
Member of Fatah's Central Committee, Jamal Muheisen announced a few days ago that the main obstacle to issuing the decree is linked to the results of international efforts with Israel regarding holding elections in Jerusalem.
The second obstacle is that Hamas has not announced its approval on a number of issues, including approving the Central Election Court’s supervision of the elections.
The Election Commission is trying to overcome differences over reconciliation and elections of the National Council through intensive meetings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Fatah wants elections to ensure an end of intra-division, but Hamas wants the elections to be through consensus and one of the outcomes of reconciliation, rather than leading to it.
A few days ago, Hamas demanded guarantees about the “integrity of the elections” and respect for its results.
Member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Ahmed Majdalani, announced that the political will, led by the PLO, is capable of holding fair and transparent elections.
Majdalani said that elections can help overcome the current impasse and the state of division that contributed to the destruction of national institutions.
He described the polls as “a new glimmer of hope for generations to exercise their constitutional, legal, and national right.”
The PA did not receive approval from Israel to hold the elections in Jerusalem, prompting it to resort to the EU and other countries to pressure Tel Aviv to agree to the elections in the city.
The United Nations is also making efforts with Israel in the same direction, as UN Envoy for the peace process in the Middle East, Nikolai Miladinov, is expected to arrive in Gaza within days to discuss the elections.
President of the dissolved Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Dweik, indicated that Hamas will insist on its position regarding the elections.
He said in a statement carried by the Hamas website that the movement agrees to hold elections to renew the legitimacy against challenges facing the Palestinian cause.
Dweik rejected accusations that the movement did not agree to the elections, asserting that: “We want to hold the elections…. Not as some claim that we showed willingness but not approval.”
He pointed out that the Palestinian people have the right to determine their options, and uphold their full rights.