Five requirements to hold Palestinian elections, says Hamas chief

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Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh highlighted Sunday five factors to ensure the success of Palestinian elections, calling for efforts to be intensified to provide such factors for Palestinian voters.

In a press conference following a meeting with Palestinian factions to discuss elections, Haniyeh said that Sunday’s meeting came to round off his movement’s meetings with Palestinian factions.

What is new about Sunday’s meeting is the proposal presented by head of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa al-Barghouti, Haniyeh continued, noting that such proposal may pave the way for a national consensus and provide guarantees to holding elections.    

Haniyeh stressed that Hamas showed great flexibility and made concession to “open the door” for holding elections.

Five requirements

Haniyeh said that the first requirement is to hold Palestinian election in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, calling for exposing the Israeli occupation and getting involved in a “political clash” with it if it banned elections in Jerusalem.  

“This factor is a chance and a challenge— a chance to open the door for ending the intra-Palestinian division and a challenge to Israeli occupation in terms of holding Palestinian elections in occupied Jerusalem,” Haniyeh continued. 

As for the second requirement, Haniyeh called for providing “freedoms necessary to hold elections,” citing the suppression of the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank by Israeli occupation.

Haniyeh confirmed that respecting the election results is the third requirement for holding Palestinian elections, reiterating that Hamas will respect the choice of the Palestinian people and will “remove the obstacles in the path of elections.”

The fourth requirement, Haniyeh confirmed, is to neutralise the Constitutional Court, which was formed during the intra-Palestinian rift.

Regarding the last requirement, Haniyeh highlighted the necessity to handle the issue of the current Palestinian Legislative Council, so that no parliamentarian would be denied of their constitutional rights.   

Talks with Palestinian factions

Hamas and the Palestinian factions have entered into “marathon” talks seeking a national position to hold Palestinian elections “at this critical stage that the Palestinian cause is going through,” Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh confirmed that a national consensus on holding elections has been reached.

Three levels

Haniyeh said that his movement has acted at three levels, the first one of which is the internal levels, citing the meetings between Hamas officials and the flexibility Hamas showed towards holding Palestinian elections.

As for the second level, Haniyeh said that Hamas held talks with Palestinian factions, which were an extension of discussion between the Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza.

At the third level, Haniyeh said that he phoned a number of officials in the region to discuss Palestinian elections; the last one of them is his phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.