The World – Palestine
“We are waiting for the factions to meet to solve all problems,” Nasser added – in a press conference today, Saturday, in Ramallah, noting that “it will be a short-term meeting.”
Last September, two delegations from the National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and the Islamic Resistance (Hamas) held meetings in Istanbul, during which they agreed on a vision that would be presented for a comprehensive national dialogue, with the participation of Palestinian forces and factions.
Yesterday, Friday, Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree regarding Palestinian elections in 3 stages, so that legislative elections will be held on May 21 this year, followed by presidential elections on July 31, and the elections for the National Council on August 31 next.
The head of the Central Elections Commission, Hanna Nasser, indicated that the Palestinian president authorized the elections commission to overcome all difficulties, and he insisted on holding elections.
He emphasized that the decision to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories is 100% Palestinian.
Nasser denied what Israeli media reported that the decision came under pressure from the new US administration led by Joe Biden, adding that the issuance of the election decree was based on a national consensus and an agreement between all factions.
He said that the committee is ready for any electoral work, expressing his hope that everyone will start registering today through the committee’s website.
He added, “The registration process will be open to all Palestinians in all their places of residence, who possess a Palestinian identity. The electronic registration process will be safe, especially as it will be compared to the civil registry.”
According to estimates by the Palestinian Central Elections Committee, the number of eligible voters will rise to about two million voters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip only.
Regarding the elections in Jerusalem, Nasser said that the existing problem now is the participation of Palestinians in the occupied city, stressing the existence of alternative plans in the event that Israel does not agree.
Nasser indicated that the elections committee will supervise its conduct, at the same time welcoming any European or American monitoring, and he also called on Palestinian civil society institutions to participate in monitoring the electoral process.
The announcement of the elections was welcomed by Palestinians, whether at the governmental or factional levels, especially as they come 15 years after the last elections were held in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian National Council (the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization) announced – in a statement – its full support for the presidential decree, and expressed its hope that this would contribute to arranging the Palestinian house, turning the page on division and protecting Palestinian rights.
“The holding of the elections confirms the commitment of our people and their leadership to the democratic option to choose their representatives,” Council Chairman Salim Al-Zanoun said in the statement.
In a statement, Fatah also welcomed this “development that reflects the will of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas welcomed the issuance of presidential decrees regarding general elections in the Palestinian territories, and affirmed its eagerness to make them a success.
Movement spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the movement worked to overcome all obstacles to achieve this, calling for the acceleration of the holding of a comprehensive national dialogue in which all Palestinian forces and factions would participate without exception.
While the National Initiative movement also welcomed the decree, and said in a statement that the decision restores the Palestinian people their democratic right to choose their leaders.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh also welcomed the presidential decree, and said that holding elections and turning the page on division was one of the most important tasks mentioned in the book of assignment to the government by the President about two years ago.
For its part, Turkey welcomed the issuance of Mahmoud Abbas of a decree stipulating that the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held later this year.