CAIRO: Rival Palestinian factions ended their talks in Cairo with an agreement on a code of conduct for elections described as a major step on Palestine’s “national democratic path.”
In their closing statement, Hamas and Fatah delegates praised Egyptian efforts to end Palestine’s longstanding divisions, saying the electoral process “expresses the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinians will go to the polls on May 22 to elect a new Legislative Council, a new president on July 31, and members of the National Council on Aug. 31.
Elections were last held in 2006, with Hamas winning a majority, while the most recent presidential poll took place in 2005.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, announced the election dates in a presidential decree on Jan. 15.
“The meeting discussed all the national issues and the dangers facing the Palestinian issue, as well as ways to strengthen the national partnership,” the factions said in their statement.
The statement also said that participants had agreed to “conduct the electoral process with high transparency and integrity that expresses the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
It added: “The Presidency of the Palestinian National Council presented a detailed report on its vision of the status of the council, where those present discussed the mechanisms of forming the new National Council and the number of its members within the framework of strengthening and activating the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”
Participants affirmed the legal and political unity of the Palestinian territories.
They also stressed the need for the elections to take place in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and to confront any obstacles, particularly in Jerusalem.
The closing statement said that the Palestinian factions stressed the necessity of completing the formation of the unified leadership of the comprehensive popular resistance and activating it in accordance with the statement of the recent meeting of secretaries-general.
The factions signed a code of conduct, in which they affirmed their keenness to conduct the electoral process in all its stages with transparency and integrity, and to be dominated by honest competition between the candidate lists in a way that serves and enhances the national unity and the general interest of the Palestinians.
The charter included several provisions, most notably full compliance with the regulations, instructions and decisions issued by the Central Elections Commission, regarding the conduct of the electoral process in its various stages in a manner that achieves integrity, transparency and the model that speaks for the Palestinian people and their sacrifices.
The factions also stipulated full compliance with the provisions of Law No. 1 of 2007 regarding general elections and its amendments by Decree Law No. 1 of 2021 and the relevant presidential decrees No. 3 of 2021 regarding calling for legislative, presidential and National Council elections.
The charter also stressed the importance of cooperating with the Central Elections Commission in its efforts to organize free and fair elections and respecting the role of the Palestinian police in securing the electoral process in all its stages and adhering to its decisions.
He stressed the importance of respecting the role of local, Arab and international observers and cooperating with them in performing their monitoring role.