Palestine President calls first elections in 15 years

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, published this Friday the decree for the call for elections legislative and presidential in the territories Palestinians, according to the official Wafa news agenda.

The legislative elections will be held on May 22, the presidential elections will be on July 31.

In addition, another vote will be held on August 31 for the election of the Palestinian National Council (CNP), an organ of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which encompasses the diaspora.

Abbas signed the decree-law during his meeting in Ramallah with the head of the Central Election Commission, Hana Nasser, which establishes “the holding of legislative, presidential and National Council elections in three phases.”

Plans to go to the polls – the first time that the Palestinian population is called to vote after the last presidential elections of 2005 and the legislative elections of 2006- include West Bank, Gaza Strip -under de facto control of the Hamas movement- and East Jerusalem, occupied and annexed under Israeli jurisdiction.

According to Wafa, Abbas ordered the electoral commission “and all relevant state agencies to be well prepared for a democratic process that will take place in all the governorates of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.”

In addition, he asked “to initiate a national dialogue focused on mechanisms” to materialize this process.

The presidential decree is issued after the nationalist Fatah party, led by Abbas, and the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules de facto in Gaza, reached a pact in early January to proceed with the call for elections.

Both Palestinian factions – whose division was one of the elements that hampered the return to the polls in recent years – pledged to leave behind the differences that have dragged on for more than a decade.

Just today 16 years have passed since Abás assumed the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority.

He was elected president in the 2005 elections with more than 60% of the vote, and a year later the legislative elections in which Hamas won would be held.


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