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Hamas declares PLO decision on Abbas a 'coup'

Dec. 17, 2009 5:55 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 18, 2009 7:07 P.M.)
Gaza/Ramallah – Ma’an – Hamas labeled the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) decision to extend the term of President Mahmoud Abbas a coup in statements delivered after the decision was announced on Wednesday.

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan told Ma’an that the PLO Central Council’s decision was “illegitimate and a continued coup against constitutional law which stated the end of president Abbas’ term was in January 2009.”

“The right option is to go to ballot box after achieving Palestinian reconciliation,” he said.

The PLO extended the terms of both Abbas and the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Legislative Council during a meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday.

Radwan said that the PLC “does not need anyone to extend its term – it is the master of itself.” The PLC’s term, he claimed “Does not end except by electing a new Legislative Council.”

At the same time, he said Hamas is “keen” to sign a deal to reconcile with Abbas’ Fatah movement based on a recent Egyptian proposal, after some amendments to the document, which Fatah signed without the amendments in October.

The decision to extend Abbas' term came after the Central Elections Commission said it would be unable to organize a vote in Gaza, where Hamas authorities will not allow it.

On Thursday, senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo responded to Hamas’ remarks.

He said the Central Council’s decision had been made according to the Basic Law and not “according to games of [Hamas PLC officail] Ahmad Bahar and the Shura Council in Gaza who invent to themselves a legislative council that issues laws and decisions in the name of legitimacy.

“The last thing Hamas has the right to talk about is the law and the constitution because it knows that the outcome of the elections will reveal it lacks of the major part of support that it got in the last election because of its behavior and policies,” he added in an interview on Palestine Radio.

He also dismissed Hamas’ stated desire for elections, saying, “the timing of elections is what was stated in the Egyptian proposal … Hamas does not does not want elections to be held either on June 28 or even next century.”
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