Photo: Reuters
On collision course with Hamas. Abbas
Photo: Reuters

Abbas to announce referendum on Tuesday

PA chairman scheduled to announce intention to hold referendum on prisoners’ document, which calls for establishment of Palestinian state beside Israel; Fatah movement head says early elections for both Palestinian parliament, presidency likely

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce on Tuesday morning by a presidential decree his intention of holding a referendum in the Palestinian Authority on the subject of the prisoners' document of principles.


The announcement was made Sunday at the Legislative Council by Fatah movement Chairman Azzam al-Ahmed, who is close to Abbas.


The prisoners’ document calls for establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel within the 1967 borders.


Al-Ahmed told reporters in Ramallah following discussions among the different Palestinian factions, "the chairman was left with no option but to use a preferential decree calling to hold a referendum on the prisoners' plan."


Al-Ahmed also estimated that in light of the political situation in the PA it is likely that early elections for both the Palestinian parliament and the presidency will be held.


He went on to attack Hamas for boycotting the discussions on the prisoners' document in the past few days.


"Hamas acts as a monopoly. They must remember that Palestine is greater than the movement.


'Hamas not interested'


Al-Ahmed’s perception is that the majority of the Palestinian population will support the referendum scheduled to be proposed on Tuesday by Abbas.


A senior Fatah official, also close to Abbas, said that there is little chance that Abbas will extend the ultimatum given to the Palestinian factions to end the discussions.


"There is no extension, unless we receive within the next few hours new information that indicates a possibility of reaching an understanding on the matter and avoid the referendum, but so far it seems that Hamas is not interested in reaching an agreement. We don't know what they want; it looks as though all that matters to them are slogans and sermons in mosques," he said. 


The chairman of the Fatah movement slammed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh for saying that the referendum is illegal, and called for his resignation along with the government.


"If this government respects itself it must resign before it is dismissed. The person who decides if and when a referendum should be held is the Authority's chairman and not the prime minister; that is the law. The chairman is the person who commissions the government and the one who can dismiss it if it's not operating according to his policy."


Al-Ahmed also estimated that early elections will ensue if Hamas or other organizations will oppose the referendum’s outcome. He warned against incitement "of those who wish to bring a civil war upon us. We at Fatah will not allow it," he concluded. 


פרסום ראשון: 06.04.06, 20:52
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