Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, left,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas
Photo: AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas

Rival factions agree on procedures for Palestinian elections

According to joint statement, groups agree on the formation of an 'election court' to rule in any legal election disputes; Fatah police to guard voting sites in West Bank and Hamas forces to monitor proceedings in Gaza

Reuters |
Published: 02.09.21 , 22:12
Rival Palestinian factions agreed on Tuesday on steps aimed at ensuring Palestinian elections are held as planned later this year and pledged to respect their results, a joint statement said.
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  • No Palestinian elections have been conducted in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem for 15 years amid a deep rift between President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah nationalist group and the Hamas Islamist movement.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, left,
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, left,
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas
    (Photo: AP)
    The two dominant factions - Fatah holds sway in the West Bank, and Hamas rules Gaza - convened on Monday for talks in Cairo to prepare for parliamentary elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
    A joint statement at the end of the two-day session said both groups and 12 other Palestinian factions, including the militant Islamic Jihad movement, pledged "to abide by the timetable" for balloting and "respect and accept" the results.
    There has been widespread skepticism the elections will even happen.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Hamas police patrol Gaza streets
    Hamas police patrol Gaza streets
    Hamas police during patrol in Gaza City
    (Photo: EPA)
    Many Palestinians believe they are mainly an attempt by Abbas to show his democratic credentials to new U.S. President Joe Biden, with whom he wants to reset relations after they reached a new low under Donald Trump.
    At the Cairo talks, the groups agreed on the formation of an "election court", with judges from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, to rule in any election legal disputes, the statement said.
    It said Fatah police would guard voting sites in the West Bank and Hamas police would deploy in Gaza, effectively freezing out more secretive security services whose presence might intimidate voters.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Palestinian policemen guard outside the Palestinian legislative council in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jan. 16, 2021.
    Palestinian policemen guard outside the Palestinian legislative council in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jan. 16, 2021.
    Palestinian policemen guard outside the Palestinian legislative council in Ramallah, in the West Bank
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Fatah and Hamas also agreed to release detainees held on political grounds in the West Bank and Gaza and allow unrestricted campaigning.
    Abbas, 85, announced in January the dates for the elections, and he is expected to run.
    There are 2.8 million eligible voters in Gaza and the West Bank. The last ballot, in 2006, ended in a surprise win by Hamas in its first parliamentary elections. That set up a power struggle between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank.

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