Palestinian elections to be held before September
Palestinian presidential and legislative elections will be held no later than September, the Palestinian Liberation Organization said Saturday, dpa reported.
The announcement was made at a PLO executive committee meeting chaired by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which was called to discuss developments in Egypt.
The statement, read by committee secretary Yaser Abed Rabbo, expressed support for the "Egyptian people and their collective decision to achieve change and democracy."
It said, "We have no doubt Egypt will remain a key player in the region and the world and will maintain its pivotal role as a key supporter of the Palestinian people and their just cause."
Abed Rabbo said the PA decided to "join the (Palestinian) youth, who demonstrated in solidarity with Egypt overnight, in demanding an end to the internal Palestinian division."
As a result, the Palestinian leadership decided to start preparations for presidential and legislative elections at a date no later than September, he said.
He urged the various Palestinian factions to "set aside their reservations and disagreements" and to "work together to hold elections and uphold the will of the Palestinian people."
The Islamist Hamas movement on Saturday rejected the decision, which spokesman Fawzi Barhoom said was "illegal."
Hamas "won't recognize these elections or results ... because it enlarges division and ... won't serve the interests of the Palestinian people," he said.
The last national elections were held in 2006, when Hamas won a majority of parliament seats. In June 2007, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, creating serious divisions with the West Bank-based PA.