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Disputes Emerge over Palestinian President’s Elections Proposal

Disputes Emerge over Palestinian President’s Elections Proposal

Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 10:45
A Palestinian man casts his ballot at a polling station during municipal elections in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron on May 13, 2017. (Reuters)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has informed factions that he refuses to hold any leadership meeting before issuing a decree calling for general elections, informed Palestinian sources said.

This stance was submitted in writing to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Dr. Hanna Nasser, who will review it and pass it to all the factions in the Gaza Strip for their written responses.

The move has however, sparked disputes.

Abbas agreed to hold the meeting after issuing the electoral decree and on condition that he first set the general elections date, the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The presidential elections will be set at a later date.

They added that he also demanded that the polls be held according to the proportional representation electoral law.

The sources stressed that the factions rejected Abbas’ demands, relaying to Nasser their insistence to hold a national meeting before the president issues his decree. The meeting will be aimed at tackling pending disputes, such as the electoral system.

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Hanieyh had met with Nasser on Sunday.

He called for holding an “all-inclusive national meeting,” saying parliamentary and presidential elections must be held. This will lead to national assembly elections.

The national meeting would be dedicated to discussing “all the details”, he explained.

Sources noted that Nasser had requested that factions send him separate responses to Abbas' proposal. They will later be reviewed with the president in an attempt to overcome differences.

Fatah wants to hold elections to ensure the end of the division between the West Bank and Gaza. It says that the victor will rule both sectors. Hamas, however, wants elections to be held as part of general consensus and to include the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

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