Palestinian Factions Agree to Hold Election in Six Months

Vote would be in stages, first forming a parliament, then electing new president, and finally choosing members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah official says

Reuters
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Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri (on screen from Beirut), July 2, 2020
Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri (on screen from Beirut), July 2, 2020Credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
Reuters

Palestinian factions have agreed to hold an election within six months, in the latest of many attempts to end more than a decade of infighting between President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement and his Islamist rival Hamas.

The factions renewed reconciliation efforts after Israel reached diplomatic accords this month with the and , an event that and prompted their leaders to .

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"The two sides have agreed in principle to hold elections within six months," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official in Istanbul, where officials from both groups met over the past two days.

 official Jibril Al-Rajoub confirmed the agreement and said Abbas would issue a decree setting a date.

But he said the vote would be in stages - starting with parliament, then electing a new president, and finally choosing members of the , the ' highest decision-making body.

The rivals have been unable to repair , when , considered a terrorist group by Israel and many Western countries, seized control of the . Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority remains dominant in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians have opposed Israel's deals with the UAE and Bahrain, fearing a weakening of a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

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