Palestinian elections

Hamas welcomes Abbas decrees on holding the Palestinian elections

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The Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, welcomed on Friday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decrees on holding the legislative and presidential elections in Palestine on May and July.
   The movement said in a press statement that “Hamas welcomes the presidential decrees that set dates for holding the legislative, presidential elections in Palestine and for the parliament of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).”
   “Hamas affirms its extreme keenness to make this entitlement a success in the interest of the Palestinian people, who have the absolute right to choose their leadership and representatives,” the statement said.

   It added that Hamas had worked over the past months “to overcome all obstacles to reach this day,” adding, “We showed high flexibility, believing that the covenant is for the people, and is in the hands of the people.”
   Hamas, the major rival of President Abbas Fatah Movement, affirmed “the importance of preparing the atmosphere for free and fair elections, in which the voter expresses the Palestinians’ will without pressures or restrictions.”
   The Islamic movement, which won a majority in the last legislative elections, held in Palestine in January 2006, called for transparent elections “with the need to proceed without hesitation in completing the electoral process in Jerusalem.”
   “We want to agree on a comprehensive strategy to confront the Zionist occupation. To achieve all this, it is necessary to hold a national dialogue in which all the Palestinian patriots participate, without exception,” it said. 
   Meanwhile, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Aziz Dweik, and a senior Islamic Hamas movement leader in the West Bank, welcomed Abbas’s decrees on holding the legislative elections on May,
   “Issuing a presidential decree on holding the elections is a positive and a welcomed step. But we also want transparent elections, and we want guarantees that the occupation will not intervene to impose facts on the elections,” he said.
   He added that “Ensuring the electoral process's success lies in achieving real partnership and standing above all measures that would disturb the internal atmosphere.
   “Lifting measures on the Gaza Strip is a basis for progress towards finding a national solution at the national level,” Dweik said.
   On Friday, Abbas issued a presidential decree that called for holding the legislative elections on May 22 and the presidential elections on July 31.
   The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Abbas issues a decree that sets May 22 for holding the legislative elections, July 31 for holding the presidential elections, and August 31 for the National Council elections.
   According to WAFA, Abbas issued the decree following a meeting held in Ramallah on Friday night with Hana Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC).
   The news agency report said that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) elections, the parliament of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), will be held on August 31 under the PLO’s basic law and national understandings.
   Abbas called on PCEC and all other state agencies “to launch a democratic election campaign in all Palestinian districts, including East Jerusalem, and to initiate a national dialogue focusing on the mechanisms of this process.” 

   The last parliamentary elections were held in the Palestinian territories in late 2006, where the Hamas movement won a majority. A year before, Abbas was elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority.