News ID: 89773
Publish Date : 01 May 2021 - 20:23
WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was offered at least four solutions to allow the first Palestinian elections in 15 years to move forward next month instead of shelving them, a Palestinian official with direct knowledge of election plans told Middle East Eye.
Early on Friday, Abbas announced that parliamentary elections scheduled for 22 May would be indefinitely delayed, under the pretext of the voting rights of Palestinians living in occupied East al-Quds.
But a source involved in election logistics told MEE that in recent weeks Abbas had been presented with several workable options for East al-Quds during internal meetings. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
He said possible solutions included putting voting stations in UN facilities in al-Quds or in European embassies, facilitating electronic voting or putting polling stations inside of al-Quds.
Instead, Abbas used al-Quds as an excuse to delay the elections and protect his position against rivals within his own Fatah party, the source said, expressing frustration over long hours spent preparing for the polls.
"There was a real will to have an election, but from the first day that [Fatah rival Marwan] Barghouti decided to run, we knew there will be no election,” the source said.
Barghouti, a popular Palestinian leader who is serving multiple life sentences in the occupied territories allied himself with the dissident faction the Freedom List earlier this month.
The faction is led by Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.  
Hamas was even a more serious rival for Abbas. Hamas had been expected to perform well in the May 22 parliamentary elections because of widening divisions within Fatah, which split into three rival lists.
The resistance movement condemned the delay, saying the decision "doesn’t agree with the national consensus and popular support and is a coup.”
The head of the political bureau of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement said late on Friday that the decision to postpone planned Palestinian elections has no credible justification.
Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised interview that it was "unfortunate” that Abbas decided not to hold the elections.
The postponing of elections could return Palestinian domestic politics to where it started, Haniyeh said, noting that the polls are a necessity in tackling the dangers awaiting the Palestinian cause, such as the so-called deal of the century, and the regime’s annexation plans.
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