Palestine starts technical meetings over preparations for polls

Ramallah, Jan 11 : The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC) has started technical meetings over preparations for the state’s first general elections after a 15-year hiatus.

Hana Nasser, chairman of PCEC, convened an online meeting on Sunday with the Comission’s members in the Gaza Strip to discuss the latest developments of the planned legislative and presidential elections, Xinhua news agency reported citing an official statement as saying.

Nasser said during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held in Ramallah on Saturday evening, he proposed to the latter several dates deemed suitable for holding the elections.

“Holding elections needs as long as 120 days after issuing suitable presidential decrees,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hisham Kuhail, executive director of the PCEC, said Abbas will issue a package of presidential decrees that will set the dates for the legislative and presidential elections, as well as for a vote for the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

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On Saturday evening, Abbas held a meeting with a delegation of PCEC in Ramallah, and agreed to issue his presidential decrees for holding elections before January 20.

Kuhail said PCEC will hold another meeting with Abbas in seven days to present its final proposal of dates for holding the Palestinian elections.

After issuing decrees, Abbas will invite the general secretaries of the Palestinian factions to discuss “mechanisms for overcoming obstacles regarding holding elections in Jerusalem and challenges Israel might create”, Kuhail added.

On January 2, Ismail Haniyeh, chief of Hamas, confirmed to Abbas in an official letter that his Islamic movement was ready to end the internal divisions and hold general elections.

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The last legislative elections were held in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, when Hamas won an overwhelming majority in the chamber.

Abbas, 84, was elected as the chief of the Palestinian Authority in the presidential elections held in the Palestinian territories in January 2005, and succeeded the former leader Yasser Arafat who had died in November 2004.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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