Following US Pressure, Abbas Announces First Elections in Palestine in 15 Years

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. (Photo: File)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Responding to a recent call by the Biden Administration to hold elections in Palestine as soon as possible, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced Friday that parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on May 22 and July 31 respectively.

If the elections move forward, it will be the first time in 15 years since elections were held in occupied Palestine.

“The President instructed the election committee and all state apparatuses to launch a democratic election process in all cities of the homeland,” a presidential decree read, referring to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Despite popular Palestinian demands that Abbas, whose presidential mandate expired in 2009, hold new elections to end factional division in Palestine, the PA President resisted these calls. 

However, the coming administration of President-elect Joe Biden seems keen on introducing new US foreign policy regarding Palestine and Israel. 

The Biden Administration had asked the PA to renew its legitimacy and hold general elections as soon as possible, Israel’s Channel 20 reported on Tuesday, January 12.

The Israeli TV station quoted a senior official in Abbas’ Fatah movement as saying that the Palestinian leadership recently received a letter from the incoming American administration calling on it to hold “new elections to renew the legitimacy in the Palestinian Authority and reduce Abbas’ control over security and judicial institutions”.

It added that Biden’s team has expressed its desire to inject new blood into the PA’s institutions, even if this comes at the expense of dismissing corrupt officials. The station also said the new administration believes these steps will pave the way towards joint cooperation between the new American government and the PA.

The last legislative elections in Palestine were held in 2006 resulting in a decisive victory for the Islamic Hamas movement, which led to Palestinian divisions and tightened the Israeli siege on Gaza.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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  1. yeah…’joint cooperation’ in maintaining the illusion that both Israel and the US are interested in a two state solution. It NEVER stops.

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