Hamas calls for concurrent parliament, presidency polls

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Hamas movement announced on Tuesday its adherence to conducting concurrent parliamentary and presidential elections.

“We call upon President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the factions’ initiative as it provides a suitable base for conducting parliamentary and presidential elections in parallel,” Hazem Qasem, the Hamas group spokesperson, said in a statement commenting on a meeting between the Palestinian president and the head of the electoral commission.

During the meeting, Abbas asked to prepare for parliamentary elections, to be followed by presidential elections few months after.

Two weeks ago, eight Palestinian factions announced an initiative to end the internal division and to proceed with reconciliation between the main rivals, Hamas and Fatah movements.

Hamas accepted the initiative while Fatah did not officially respond to it, although a handful of Fatah leaders said in several occasions there was no need for such initiative.

Abbas in his speech in the UN General Assembly meeting last month pledged to hold general elections.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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