PLO calls for general elections


Ramallah : The Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) Central Council has called for general elections in the Palestinian territories "as soon as possible".

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The top body of the PLO also called for a resumption of the rule of law to leave no room for armed militias and to prevent the spreading of violence from Gaza to the West Bank.

Palestinian Prime Minister and PLO head Mahmoud Abbas convened the Fatah-dominated council for the first time in nearly three years, following Hamas' forcible assumption of full control in the Gaza Strip last week, and his subsequent formation of a new West Bank-based government.

The council gave its approval for the emergency measures surrounding the formation of the government, in a move bypassing the democratically elected Palestinian parliament dominated by Hamas.

The new government is valid for up to 30 days only, after which it needs to be extended by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The PLO council's approval may mean Abbas will not seek that of the PLC with its Hamas majority.

The council also called for the first elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), whose members are generally appointed.

The PLO Central Council, with some 130 members, is a smaller version of the unwieldy, 500-plus-member PNC, considered the Palestinian parliament in exile and as representing not only those in the West Bank and Gaza but also Palestinian diaspora.