RAMALLAH, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Council (PNC), or the parliament of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), elected a new PLO executive committee with President Mahmoud Abbas as its chairman.
Azzam el-Ahmad, a PNC member and member of the central committee of Abbas' Fatah Party, made the announcement shortly after midnight on Friday.
"The National Council elected President Mahmoud Abbas as the chairman of the PLO executive committee," said el-Ahmad, who read the names of 15 newly elected members of the committee.
The list of the new PLO executive committee members consists of seven former ones and eight new ones, with an overwhelming majority of the parliament members voting in favor of it.
The PLO parliament also elected Abbas as the President of the State of Palestine.
The announcement came at the end of a four-day PNC meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the first of its kind since 2009.
But the new executive committee of the PLO is the first to be elected since 1996, as the PNC meeting in 2009 only managed to fulfil the vacant positions in the executive committee.
Before the announcement by el-Ahmad, Abbas delivered a short speech which was aired live on the official Palestinian Satellite Television.
According to Abbas, the PLO executive committee should have 18 members, with three vacancies left for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which boycotted the PNC meeting.
Abbas also asked the Islamic Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad to join the PNC.
"We don't want to see them out of our national unity and we don't like exclusion," he said.
Earlier, PNC members urged Abbas to end the sanctions he has imposed on the Gaza Strip since May 2017 to force Hamas, which has controlled the coastal enclave since 2007, to hand over power to the Palestinian Authority.
"Tomorrow, Gaza Strip employees can cash their salaries, as we were unable to pay the salaries in the Gaza Strip for April due to technical mistakes," Abbas told the PNC at the end of its meeting.