Intra-Palestinian dialogue on holding elections will resume on March 16

Intra-Palestinian dialogue on holding elections will resume on March 16
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Gaza, March 8 - Egypt, the exclusive sponsor of the Palestinian dialogue, has begun on Monday inviting the leaders of the Palestinian factions to attend the second round of the national dialogue scheduled to be held in Cairo on March 16 and 17.

"We received an invitation from the Egyptian brothers to attend the second round of the meeting of the factions in Cairo, which will be held on the 16th and 17th of this month," said member of the Islamic Jihad Movement's political bureau, Sheikh Nafez Azzam.

 According to well-informed sources, the next round of the national dialogue is scheduled to focus on issues related to the mechanism of holding the general elections, especially the National Council elections on August 31.

“Ending the internal division and agreeing to form a national unity government after the parliamentary elections are also on the agenda of the national dialogue,” said the sources.

In the first round of intra-Palestinian national dialogue that ended in Cairo earlier last month, leaders of 14 factions, including Hamas and and Fatah, agreed to hold the general elections as scheduled.

The factions also agreed to set up an electoral court, which will include judges from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and is responsible for monitoring all matters relating to the electoral process.

The establishment of an independent elections court has been a central demand by Fatah's rival Hamas, which has expressed concern that Abbas could use a court to revise election results should he lose, political analysts said.

In January, Abbas announced that the 2021 general election will include legislative elections on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on Aug. 31.

The last Palestinian presidential elections were held in March 2005 and the legislative elections in January 2006.

The result was a victory for Hamas, which received 44.45 percent of the votes and won 74 of the 132 seats. 

Meanwhile, Fatah received 41.43 percent of the votes and won 45 seats. While Abbas, who assumed office in January 2005, remained the president, the government with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as prime minister was inaugurated in late March 2006.

The internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah began in 2007 when Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah. 

Since then, the Palestinian territories have been split into a Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and a Fatah-dominated West Bank.

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