Hamas politburo chief says committed to holding general elections

The politburo chief of Islamic Hamas movement Ismail Haniyeh said on Monday that his movement is committed to holding comprehensive elections, including presidential, legislative and the National Council of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Haniyeh’s remarks were made in a news briefing held in Gaza city following a Hamas leadership meeting with representatives of the Palestinian Central Election Commission and leaders of other factions.

“All Palestinian factions, including Hamas, affirmed that they are ready and well-prepared to go to the ballots and be judged by the will of the Palestinian people,” said Haniyeh.

He added that “the meeting with the election commission is particularly important in terms of timing and results, and we have no concerns about entering any comprehensive electoral process.”

Haniyeh stressed that Hamas is ready to advance the elections and provide full flexibility in order to achieve the Palestinian unity, pointing out that “there is a focused official discussion on holding presidential and legislative elections at this stage.”

Haniyeh went on saying that “we talked in detail and in transparency about the elections and the respect of the results, which is a step on the road to restore national unity.”

Chairman of the Central Election Commission Hanna Nasser described the meeting with the Palestinian factions in Gaza as positive, pointing out that the factions showed a positive attitude towards holding the elections.

“We agreed on a number of items related to the elections and the national positions. We feel that we are very close to holding the elections,” said Nasser.

On Oct. 7, President Mahmoud Abbas designated Nasser to begin preparations for the legislative elections in the Palestinian territories.

Abbas also asked Nasser to launch contacts with all Palestinian powers, factions and the concerned parties in order to prepare for holding the elections.

The last Palestinian legislative elections were held in January 2006 when Hamas won a parliamentary majority.

Fatah and Hamas have been trading accusations of delaying new elections. Palestinians also fear Israel will block elections in the eastern part of Jerusalem, which they claim is the capital of their future state.