‘No one can obstruct Palestinians from holding general polls’
Ramallah, Oct. 23 (IANS): A senior Palestinian official has stated that no one has the right to veto or intervene in the holding of general elections in the Palestinian territories.
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), made the remarks in a news conference held after his meeting with European ambassadors and consuls on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“No person or political movement shall deprive the Palestinian people of choosing their representatives,” said Erekat, adding “We understand that there are personalities, movements or parties that do not want to join the elections.”
He also said that “this is part of the democratic process, but no one has the right to prevent people from going to the polls or racing for office.”
“Elections are an entitlement for the Palestinian people,” Erekat said, stressing that “no one deprives us of returning to the will of the people to go for free, direct and fair elections under full international supervision.”
The veteran Palestinian politician said he urged the European diplomats to help the Palestinians by exerting pressure on the Israeli government to be committed to the agreements signed with the Palestinians in 1995 on holding the elections.
“Elections had been held in the Palestinian territories (The West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) in 1996, 2005 and 2006 according to the agreements,” said Erekat, adding he hoped that Israel won’t obstruct holding it this time.
Head of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission Hanna Nasser is scheduled to visit in the Gaza Strip next week to hold a dialogue with the leaders of the Islamic Hamas movement and other factions on holding the elections.
Nasser has already met with representatives of Palestinian factions and civil society organizations in the West Bank on the arrangements for holding the elections.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed that parliamentary elections will be first held in the Palestinian territories and then after a few months, presidential elections will be held.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said earlier in Gaza that all the elections for the parliament, president and National Council should be held on the same day.
“Holding legislative election only is a matter that is not accepted,” al-Zahar told a workshop in Gaza on holding the Palestinian elections, adding that “this decision would deepen the ongoing internal division.”