Ma'an News Agency
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian President will not run for office in the 24 January elections, a Fatah leader announced on Tuesday.

Fatah leader Abdullah Abu Samhadaneh issued a statement saying Abbas “is eager to rest from this long and arduous trip, which began with the revolution and continues to this day,” as part of a paper urging Hamas to sign the Egyptian unity proposal so unified elections can go forward.

He also noted, however, that if Abbas is "instructed by the command [Palestinian leaders] he will accept the commission."

Abu Samhadaneh said Hamas has enough time to sign the agreement, presumably ahead of elections called for by Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. The official accused “regional sides” of thwarting unity.

“Even though [the Egyptian proposal] is unjust, [Fatah] accepted to sign it to pave the way for the restoration of cohesion and reconciliation between Palestinians,” Abu Samhadaneh said, urging Hamas to do the same despite what the party calls “comments” that it would like to register with Egypt.

The official explained away Abbas’ decision to call for elections before unity between the Westn Bank and Gaza governments, as a response to what would be a constitutional crisis when the mandate of Abbas and the Palestinian Legislative Committee runs out on 25 January.

Detractors say Abbas’ mandate ran out on 9 January 2009, four years after he was elected and on the end date of his four-year term. Others argue the Palestinian Authority leader has an extended mandate which goes until the end of the PLC period. The PLC has been essentially defunct since 2007.

“The elections will be held on time in the West Bank and Gaza even if Hamas refuses to sign the Egyptian proposal,” Abu Samhadaneh said The central elections committee has put several scenarios to face the possibility to obstruct the elections.

The Fatah official said he doubted Hamas would hold separate elections in Gaza, because they would “reveal that the party has no supporters.”


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