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New Hamas politburo 'remains confidential'

April 16, 2012 5:37 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2012 9:14 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The results of Hamas' internal leadership re-shuffle are still confidential, party officials said Monday.

Hamas officials, speaking to Ma'an on condition of anonymity, denied that there had been any clashes over the process which took place in Gaza recently.

The Shura Council, a 55-member advisory body, nominates candidates to form the politburo, and those selected must accept their positions or provide acceptable reasons to refuse.

Political analyst Mustafa al-Sawwaf told Ma'an current politburo chief Khalid Mashaal was likely to retain his post.

Hamas' practice of appointing the politburo in a closed-door process, rather than allowing candidates to stand, means there will not be clashes between candidates, al-Sawwaf added.

Earlier this year, Hamas officials touted Hamas deputy politburo chief Mousa Abu Marzouq and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as possible successors, according to press reports.

An official told Ma'an in January that Mashaal could not stand again as he has served the party's limit of two terms in office, but with the procedures shrouded in secrecy, it was not possible to verify if such a bar restricted Mashaal's candidacy.

Mashaal indicated in January that he did not seek reselection as politburo chief.

If the Shura Council selects Mashaal to head the politburo, he will have to obey the decision if the council rejects his reasons to refuse the post, al-Sawwaf said.

The makeup of the new politburo is unlikely to affect Hamas' reconciliation with the West Bank-based Fatah party, he added.

Chief-in-exile Mashaal agreed in February to a unity cabinet led by Fatah-leader President Mahmoud Abbas to bridge the divided West Bank and Gaza governments, sparking outrage among Hamas ranks in Gaza.

The rival parties blame each other for the current impasse.
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