Fatah, Hamas to hold talks on Palestinian elections in Cairo

Mahmoud_Abbas

With weeks left for general elections to take place in Palestine, Fatah and Hamas, the two rival factions in the country, have decided to hold a second round of talks in Cairo on Tuesday with the aim of addressing possible hurdles in the polling process.

The first round of talks was held between the two factions in the Egyptian capital more than a month ago, which resulted in a consensus over the mechanism of the electoral process. Significantly, the two-day second round of talks is aimed at finalising the process of election for the National Council and the reactivation and development of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Earlier this year, Mohammad Sbeih, Secretary-General of the National Council, had underlined that Palestinian groups have agreed on limiting the number of council members from 765 to 350.

JibrilRajoub, Secretary-General of Fatah’s Central Committee, has said that both the Palestinian factions are going to decide a code of conduct for the upcoming elections. “The legislative elections should be free of all signs of tension and treachery and anything that could lead to violence,” he said while speaking to Palestine Radio.

For the first time in 15 years, parliamentary elections are set to take place on May 22, while presidential elections have been scheduled for July 31. Furthermore, Palestine will go to the polls to elect the National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on August 31.

Palestine witnessed its last presidential election in 2005 and last legislative elections in 2006 in which Hamas won a landslide majority. However, President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah did not recognise Hamas’ victory, which led to violent clashes and a split in the Palestinian government. In the aftermath of the violence, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas-led Fatah has been running the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In 2021, the two rival sides agreed on holding elections under the ambit of an electoral court in order to avoid violence and regional tensions. Both Hamas and Fatah have expressed their commitment to respecting the outcome of the upcoming elections.

With the nomination process is set to open on March 20, the factions are also likely to discuss the possibility of establishing joint electoral lists to run in the legislative polls during the new meeting. Hamas spokesman Abd Al-Latif Al-Qanoo has issued a press statement, noting that the best opportunity for the group is to take part in a unified national list with the aim of including all political spectrums.

A delegation from the Palestinian Central Elections Commission will also participate in the forthcoming meetings in Cairo to oversee the discussions to establish best-suited mechanisms for conducting the elections. The factions have also agreed on assigning police personnel to monitor the security during the polling process.

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