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Palestinian groups to field candidate
by ALJ
Thursday Nov 18th, 2004 2:57 PM
Five Palestinian factions have agreed to field a joint candidate in the 9 January presidential election to replace the late Yasir Arafat, an official said.

Two of the groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, boycotted the previous Palestinian election in 1996. Both factions rejected Arafat's interim peace deals with Israel.
The factions, who also include the Struggle Front, People's Party and Democratic Federation (FIDA) - all of them small groups - agreed in recent meetings in Gaza to run a joint
candidate, but have yet to select one.

On Tuesday, Abd al-Sattar Qasim, a longtime critic of Arafat, and Talal Sidir, one of Arafat's loyalists, became the first to announce their candidacy in the January poll.

Both are little known to ordinary Palestinians and lack party affiliations, making them long-shot challengers to Mahmud Abbas, the moderate former prime minister and new Palestine Liberation Organisation leader who is expected to run.

Discussions continued

Rabah Muhana, a PFLP leader, told reporters on Thursday the five groups would continue discussions with Abbas and urge him to set a date for a parliamentary election.

Abbas has been holding a series of meetings with Palestinian factions, including Islamic armed groups, in the wake of Arafat's death in a French military hospital on 11 November.

"We also will meet the temporary president of the Palestinian Authority, Rawhi Fattuh, and urge him to issue a presidential decree setting a date for parliamentary elections," Muhana said.

Lawmakers have said they expect a parliamentary ballot, last held in 1996, to be scheduled for next year, possibly in the spring.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/97C06D7F-93AC-4BD4-B770-DA082C691EDF.htm
§more
by more Thursday Nov 18th, 2004 3:18 PM
5 Palestinian factions to field joint candidate for PA chair
Five Palestinian factions, including two radical groups, have agreed to field a joint candidate in the January 9 election to replace the late Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority chairman, an official said Thursday.

Two of the groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, boycotted the previous Palestinian election in 1996.

Both factions rejected Arafat's interim peace deals with Israel.

The factions, which also include the Struggle Front, People's Party and Democratic Federation (FIDA) - all of them small groups - agreed in recent meetings in Gaza to run a joint candidate, but have yet to select one.

On Tuesday, Abdel-Sattar Qassem, a longtime critic of Arafat, and Talal Seder al-Ayyoubi, one of Arafat's loyalists, became the first to announce their candidacy in the January poll.

Al-Ayyoubi was once Yasser Arafat's Sports Minister and more recently served as his adviser on religious affairs.

Both are little known to ordinary Palestinians and lack party affiliations, making them long-shot challengers to Abbas, the moderate former prime minister and new Palestine Liberation Organization leader who is expected to run as the Fatah candidate.

Abbas vowed Wednesday that he would take steps to halt the use of illegal weapons in Palestinian areas and ensure calm and an end to chaos ahead of the election.

Rabah Muhana, a PFLP leader, told Reuters the five groups would continue discussions with Abbas and urge him to set a date for a parliamentary election.

Abbas has been holding a series of meetings with Palestinian factions, including Islamic military groups, in the wake of Arafat's death on November 11.

"We also will meet the temporary president of the Palestinian Authority, Rouhi Fattouh, and urge him to issue a presidential decree setting a date for parliamentary elections," Muhana said.

Lawmakers have said they expect a parliamentary ballot, last held in 1996, to be scheduled for next year, possibly in the spring.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/503370.html