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Abbas seeks unified election list against Hamas

Oct. 26, 2009 4:00 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 27, 2009 4:55 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – President Mahmoud Abbas plans to run for reelection on a unified ticket of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions and independents against the opposition Islamist Hamas movement, Palestinian officials said on Monday.

Abbas issued a decree on Friday scheduling elections for 24 January, an order that Hamas rejected, on the grounds that a national unity deal should be signed first.

Since Hamas, which is excluded from the PLO, intends to boycott the election, and will likely not allow the poll to go ahead in Gaza, the legitimacy of Abbas’ grand coalition could be in question from the start.

An official from one PLO faction, the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) said the group is considering Abbas’ proposal.

“We are studying Abbas’ proposal on the basis of holding elections in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem,” said Walid Al-Awad, a member of the PPP’s Political Bureau.

The sources said however that, in Abbas’ view, the door is still open for Hamas to sign a unity deal before the elections.

Abbas also wants some independent figures to appear on his united list, according to the sources.

The president meanwhile is on his way to Morocco to meet with King Mohammed VI, who chairs the Jerusalem Committee in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Abbas trip comes a day after an Israeli raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem sparked Palestinian demonstrations and street battles with police.

According to the Moroccan news agency Al-Maghreb Al-Arabi, the meeting between the two leaders is to focus on the OIC’s role in Jerusalem.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh will accompany Abbas to Morocco, according to the agency.
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