24 Sept 2020 (AlJazeera News)
The two biggest Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, have agreed to hold the first elections in Palestine in nearly 15 years.
Polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal agreed by Fatah, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniya.
“We have agreed to first hold legislative elections, then presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority, and finally the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” said Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, on Thursday.
The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held in 2006 when Hamas won by an unexpected landslide.
Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas official, said the deal was reached during meetings held in Turkey.
“This time we reached a real consensus,” he told the AFP news agency from Istanbul. “Divisions have damaged our national cause and we are working to end that.”
Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah’s Central Committee, stressed the Palestinian leadership’s declared position that neither Jerusalem nor the besieged Gaza Strip should be excluded from the elections.
“Without Jerusalem, there will be no elections,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday, a top member of Fatah called the continuing talks in Turkey with Hamas “positive, fruitful, and productive”.