Palestinian Authority sets date for first elections since 2006

17 Janvier, 2021, 07:00 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Palestinians allowed to vote again for the first time in 15 years | NOW

Under the decree, parliamentary elections will be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and Palestinian National Council elections on August 31.

The Gaza-based Hamas movement, which ruled the besieged enclave since July 2007, has also welcomed the decree on elections.

Abbas issued the decree while receiving head of the CEC Hanna Nasser at the presidential H.Q in Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced parliamentary and presidential elections, the first in 15 years, in an effort to heal long-standing internal divisions.

Palestinian factions have renewed reconciliation efforts after Israel reached diplomatic agreements previous year with four Arab countries, accords that dismayed Palestinians and prompted their leaders to try to present a united front. This led to resentment of the Palestinians, who feel betrayed.

Hamas, which is Abbas' main domestic rival, welcomed the announcement.

"We have worked in the past months to resolve all obstacles so that we can reach this day", a Hamas statement said.

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It added that it looked to "free elections in which voters can express themselves without pressure and without restrictions, in all fairness and transparency".

Recent polls suggest there would be a tight contest this time around. Abbas would likely lose to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who would win 50% of the vote to the incumbent's 43%, according to the survey.

The last legislative elections were held in January 2006 and the presidential elections were held in March 2005.

Hamas dropped its boycott of the political process the following year, running a well-organised parliamentary campaign under the banner "Change and Reform" and defeating the hitherto-dominant Fatah faction. The subsequent unity government established with Fatah in the Gaza Strip collapsed soon after the election, and Fatah was left in control of the West Bank and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas dominates all three.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza, and the East Jerusalem al-Quds in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

Israel bans all Palestinian Authority activity in east Jerusalem, and there was no indication the Jewish state would allow a Palestinian vote within the city.

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