Official calls on Abbas to hold Presidential election on time

By Xinhua,

Gaza : A senior Palestinian officials called on Saturday on President Mahmoud Abbas to prepare for holding presidential elections in the Palestinian territories by January 2009.

Support TwoCircles

Ahmed Bahar, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) dominated by Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), told reporters that according to the law, the rule of Abbas ends by January 2009.

President Abbas was elected in January 2005 as the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Abbas succeeded late President Yasser Arafat, who died in November 2004.

“According to the law, the rule of the President of the Palestinian Authority ends in January 2009. In this case, the Speaker of the parliament becomes the president for three months until a new election is held,” said Bahar.

Israel has been detaining PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik, who is also a senior Hamas leader in the West Bank. Bahar said “if Dweik is still held in prison, no one knows what would be the arrangements on January 2009.”

Bahar also said that Hamas movement hasn’t decided yet whether it will run in the Presidential elections “if it is decided to be held on time,” adding “the issue is under discussion of the movement’s leaders.”

Bahar, meanwhile, refused any proposal to change the law of the presidential election and extend the rule of President Abbas until January 2010, the date scheduled for holding the legislative elections.

“This act will be totally illegal and contradicts with the law,” said Bahar, adding that he rejects also the idea to hold early presidential and legislative elections to get out of the status of division among the Palestinians.

Abbas has conditioned the resumption of dialogue with Hamas with holding early Presidential and legislative elections in the Palestinian territories. Hamas has taken control of the Gaza Strip since June last year.