News Analysis: Goodwill inadequate for holding 1st Palestinian elections since 2006

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-30 01:27:51|Editor: huaxia
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GAZA/RAMALLAH, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians remain pessimistic about holding the first elections in the Palestinian territories since 2006, due to the absence of an internal consensus despite the goodwill expressed recently by rival factions.

In the first week of October, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas commissioned Hanna Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC), to start the preparations for holding the parliamentary elections by contacting Palestinian political powers and factions.

Abbas hoped that the parliamentary elections would be held first, followed by the presidential election, in accordance with the laws and regulations.

Nasser headed a CEC delegation for a visit to Gaza Strip on Sunday, where he held a broader meeting with the leaders of the Hamas movement, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, and other minor factions and civil society representatives to discuss holding the elections.

Following the meeting, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh announced that Hamas was sticking to its demand for holding the general elections to elect the parliament, president and the National Council of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), all at once.

The last parliamentary elections were held in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, where Hamas won a majority in the parliament, while President Mahmoud Abbas won the presidential race in 2005.

Since then, Abbas' Fatah party and Hamas have been trading accusations on who is the party that hinders holding the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mohamed al-Gharabli, a 26-year-old young man from Gaza, told Xinhua that he was not so optimistic that the elections will be held soon "because the politicians are gaining benefits from the current internal division and they won't easily give up these profits."

An internal Palestinian rift began in the summer of 2007 when Hamas forces seized control of the Gaza Strip after driving out the forces loyal to Abbas.

Besides meeting with the Palestinian factions, the CEC delegation also held meetings with representatives of the non-government organizations and civil society institutions.

A Palestinian official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that pessimism dominated the meeting when they discussed the details and the measures of holding the elections in the Palestinian territories.

"The devil is in the details. There is no final agreement on the procedures necessary for the implementation and success of the elections," said the source, adding the main obstacle lies in what law will be evoked in order to hold the elections.

Nihad Abu Ghush, director of Masarat Center for Research, told Xinhua that he doubted if the elections would be held, adding that "holding the election was presented as an introduction to end the internal division, but I believe that neither Hamas nor Fatah is ready for joining the elections."

One of the major obstacles to holding the elections is the increasing international intervention in the Palestinian affair, as the rival parties of the internal division have own agendas, said Abu Gush.

The first-ever presidential and parliamentary elections were held in the Palestinian territories in 1996, right after the Oslo agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinians. Late leader Yasser Arafat was elected as the president of the state of Palestine, and in 2005, Abbas succeeded Arafat.

Abdul Karim Shubair, a Palestinian expert in international law, told Xinhua that there were huge obstacles that would block holding the Palestinian elections in the Palestinian territories.

"One of the most important obstacles is what the judiciary will decide, in addition to the security forces that will guard the ballot boxes and also the possibility of the parties accepting the results whatsoever," he said.