Gaza leaders call for holding general elections on time

14:19, January 21, 2010      

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Several Palestinian political leaders in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday called for holding the general presidential and legislative elections in all the Palestinian territories on time.

The leaders, who discussed the current political challenges, agreed during a political workshop held in Gaza City that postponing the elections "is very dangerous to the Palestinians."

According to the Palestinian basic law, the general elections should be held on Jan. 25, 2010. However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to postpone it until June 2010 after Hamas threatened to thwart polls in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas movement, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, insists on not holding any elections in the Palestinian territories before it reaches a reconciliation agreement with Fatah party.

Postponing the general Palestinian elections until June 2010 came in accordance with the Egyptian-drafted pact of reconciliation, which was presented to all the Palestinian fractions last October.

Although Hamas movement hasn't yet accepted the Egyptian- drafted pact of reconciliation, which was accepted by Abbas and his Fatah group, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip said they are not against holding the elections, but before holding it, there has to be a deal of national accordance.

Gaza-based Fatah lawmaker Faisal Abu Shahla said during the workshop that the Palestinian elections should be held in June 2010 upon a national accordance, adding "according to the law, after Jan. 25, all of us will be illegal."

He was referring to the Palestinian presidency and the Palestinian legislative Council (PLC), the parliament of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which is dominated by Islamic Hamas movement.

"Amid the current political rift and internal campaigns of propaganda (between Fatah and Hamas), we live in a status of no talks, no armed resistance and no internal unity," said Abu Shahla, adding "the Israeli occupation is the only one which benefits from the current situation."

Meanwhile, Ahmed Yousef, an aide to deposed prime minister of Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya, told the workshop that postponing the general elections will be so dangerous on the Palestinian cause.

"If we continue our endless rift and division, the Palestinian people will live under occupation forever," Yousef told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

He called on the international and Arab community to play a more effective role to end the current Palestinian internal feuds.

However, Yousef defended his movement's stance over its conditions to hold the general elections, adding that Egypt has to take Hamas notes on the reconciliation pact in consideration and Hamas will never accept holding the elections before reaching a reconciliation agreement.

Jamil Majdalawi, the Gaza-based leader of the left-wing Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said during the workshop that "According to the law, both President Abbas and the parliament will lose their legitimacy if the elections are not held on Jan. 25."

"The continuation of the current rift, is not only affecting the Palestinian political life, but also weakens the armed resistance against the Israeli occupation," said Majdalawi, adding "If the peace talks with Israel are resumed amid the current internal rift, it will weaken the Palestinian negotiators."

Majdalawi said "the only solution in the coming period is to end the current rifts and feuds between Fatah and Hamas and hold the elections on time."

The Gaza-based political analyst told Xinhua that postponing the general elections "is harmful and confiscating the Palestinian democratic choice to decide who their new elected leaders are."

He expected that more tension and more propaganda campaign will dominate the Palestinian territories within the coming few days after Jan. 25.

The Palestinian Central Council, the legal body of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), decided in December 2009 to extend the term of both President Abbas and Hamas-dominated parliament until June 2010.

Source: Xinhua
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