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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

No one can obstruct Palestinians from holding general polls: Saeb Erekat

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RAMALLAH: 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, 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 Hamas movement and other factions on holding the elections.


Nasser has already met with representatives of Palestinian factions and civil society organisations 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. — IANS


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