Agreement between Palestinian parties called for Election
The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Gaza
Rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas, along with 11 other factions, have called for presidential and legislative elections by the end of 2018.
A joint statement released by all the factions said Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will set the date for the polls.
The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held in 2006, when the Islamist militant group Hamas took a surprise victory. The results were not recognized by Fatah, sparking a civil war and a violent seizure of the Gaza Strip by Hamas.
Abbas, leader of Fatah, was elected to a four-year term as PA president in 2005 and has ruled over the West Bank by presidential decree since 2009.
Previous attempts to hold Palestinian elections over the past decade have failed amid a deepening divide between Hamas and Fatah.
The Palestinian parties are holding talks in Cairo to solidify a reconciliation agreement reached last month that would place the Gaza Strip under control of the internationally-recognized PA by December 1.
The joint statement applauded the October unity agreement and said that the parties would convene again in early February to finalize implementation of the deal.
Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the US, Israel and the EU, has managed a separate Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip while the PA controls the West Bank.
Following Hamas’ takeover, Israel enforced a blockade and Egypt followed suit. Hamas has fought three wars with Israel in the past 10 years, while the coastal enclave has experienced economic collapse and an increasingly dire humanitarian situation.
Earlier this month Hamas handed over control of Gaza’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt to the PA, marking the first major step in the reconciliation process.