Palestinian president says to discuss elections with Hamas, factions

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the central committee of the Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 October 2019

Palestinian president says to discuss elections with Hamas, factions

RAMALLAH: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he would discuss plans for new parliamentary elections with all factions, including longtime rivals Hamas.
Meeting with senior Palestinian leaders in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abbas renewed a pledge to hold the polls — the first since 2006 — but without giving a timeframe.
He announced they had formed committees to “communicate with the election commission and factions such as Hamas and all factions, as well as with the Israeli authorities.”
He said any elections should take place in “the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since 2007, when they seized Gaza and threw out Abbas’s forces, which retained control of the internationally recognized Palestinian government based in the West Bank.
No parliamentary elections have been held since 2006, with the two sides trading blame.
Multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed and analysts say new elections are impossible without improved relations.
Hamas said in a statement Saturday it didn’t “know what Abu Mazen means by general election,” using the common nickname for Abbas.
The movement said it had already committed itself to elections.
Abbas has previously pledged on multiple occasions to hold elections but without any results.
Meanwhile, Abbas also confirmed the Palestinian Authority (PA) had received on Sunday $1.5 billion shekels ($430 million) from Israel — representing taxes that had been withheld from the Jewish state.
Israel in February decided to withhold around $10 million per month from revenues of some $190 million per month it collects on the behalf of the PA, triggering Abbas’s fury.
The money comes from customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and constitutes more than 50 percent of the PA’s revenues.


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

Updated 21 min 35 sec ago

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

  • Rabbani’s departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago
  • Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process

KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tendered his resignation on Wednesday following differences with President Ashraf Ghani, who Rabbani accused of sidelining him.
His departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago, and served as acting minister on the basis of an order by the president.
Rabbani is an ally of Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani and is the president’s election rival.
Rabbani’s resignation comes weeks ahead of the possible formation of a new government if an election winner is announced.
“During my time, the working environment in the National Unity Government was not good from the start,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“I witnessed parallel structures being created and have seen essential institutions — key pillars of the system — pushed to the side.”
The presidential palace had no immediate comment about Rabbani’s resignation or his allegations, which according to his supporters include being barred from attending conferences and events overseas that fall under his remit.
Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process, which included a warm reception in Islamabad to a visiting Taliban delegation. The Afghan presidential palace openly opposed Pakistan’s warm welcome of the delegation.