Government Policy

Plestinians to meet in Cairo to discuss elections

Palestinian
rival factions Fatah and Hamas will hold a new round of talks Tuesday in the
Egyptian capital to push on with plans for forthcoming elections.

The meeting, announced Monday by the Islamist Hamas and the secular Fatah,
will come more than a month after the two factions agreed in Cairo talks on
“mechanisms” for the polls.

The parliamentary and presidential polls are set for May 22 and July 31,
respectively, and will be the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.

Hamas, blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the
United States, won an unexpected landslide at the last elections in 2006, a
victory not recognised by president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah.

That led to bloody clashes the following year and a split in Palestinian
governance.

Fatah has since run the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West
Bank and Hamas has held power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, the year Israel
imposed a devastating blockade on the coastal enclave.

To avoid a repetition of the tensions and violence that erupted in 2009,
the two groups met in Cairo in February and agreed a series of steps,
including setting up an “electoral court” to oversee the polls.

They also declared they were committed to respecting the results of the
forthcoming vote.

On Tuesday in Cairo the two sides will discuss “key issues linked to the
elections”, Hamas official Khalil al-Khalil said.

“After the legislative elections, we would like to form a national unity
government… and we would prefer to reach consensus on just one national
candidate for the presidential vote,” he said.

A spokesman for Abbas meanwhile stressed that the Palestinian Authority
president is determined to see through the elections despite tensions within
Fatah.

Last week, Fatah expelled prominent member Nasser al-Kidwa from the
movement after he announced he would seek the Palestinian presidency in what
was seen as an affront to Abbas.

Kidwa is a nephew of the iconic late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)