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Tuesday, February 1, 2011     GET REAL

With an eye on the neighborhood, Abbas open
to Palestinian elections

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority, concerned over rising unrest in neighboring Egypt and Jordan, has promised to examine the prospect of elections.


Officials said the PA has been discussing options for presidential and legislative elections over the next year. They said the effort has been approved by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose term expired in January 2010, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Fatah would support a government decision to hold elections," Abbas aide Azzam Al Ahmed said.

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Al Ahmed, a former PA minister and senior Fatah official, said Abbas would convene meetings to determine the feasibility of elections. He said elections could be staged despite the split between the PA-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

In June, the PA canceled municipal elections in the West Bank amid heavy pressure by the ruling Fatah movement. The cancellation of elections came after Hamas's boycott, which sparked concerns within Fatah that the vote would be deemed illegitimate by the international community.

In December, the PA High Court deemed the cancellation of elections illegal. The court ordered that the PA schedule elections as soon as possible.

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