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Palestine | International

Hamas Likely to Run in Presidential Elections
by IOL (reposted)
Wednesday Nov 24th, 2004 9:17 AM
NABLUS , November 24 (IslamOnline.net) – The Islamic resistance movement Hamas is likely to run in the upcoming Palestinian presidential elections by nominating a candidate or supporting a certain runner if it serves best the interests of the Palestinian people, a Hamas politburo member said Tuesday, November23 .
“Everything is expected in politics. The movement would nominate a candidate to run for Palestinian Authority’s president if it is in the public interest,” Mohammad Ghazal told IslamOnline.net.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Nablus forum on the Palestinian future in post-Arafat era, Ghazal said the resistance movement could support a presidential hopeful, who sees eye to eye with Hamas on the pressing issues.

“The Palestinian people are coming under a ferocious internal and external attack that requires all factions acting in unison. Our longstanding position is rejecting any plans giving up our rights to the Israeli occupation.”

Not A Solution

Ghazal reiterated Hamas’ stance that called for holding general elections in the occupied Palestinian territories, encompassing presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections.

“Presidential election can’t resolve the Palestinian problems, so it must be held on parallel with legislative and municipal elections,” he said.

Hamas had said general elections should be based on “sound bases” and virtual political partnership, asserting that the 1993 Oslo autonomy accords can no longer serve as a springboard because Israel has failed to comply with its terms and conditions.

Hamas senior leader Mahmmoud Al-Zahar said the January 9 presidential election would be “illegal” if it took the Oslo Accords as a basic reference.

The movement demands that the elections be held on the basis of the so-called November 1988 declaration of the Palestinian independence, which is opposed by Fatah and the PA.

The PA has not yet set a date for the legislative and municipal elections.

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, however, told IOL on Monday, November22 , that both elections would be held in the first four months of2005 .

Soaring Popularity

Palestinian political figures believe that Hamas voice would be heard in the election through supporting a candidate of another faction.

Iyad Al-Barghouthi, an expert in the Islamic movements and professor of political sciences at An-Najah University in Nablus , said the heavyweight movement would influence the election even if it did not name a candidate.

“They (Hamas) will not wait and see but rather support any candidate, who lives up to its agenda,” he told IOL.

Barghouthi said Hamas’ support is very much important for independent candidates.

“One should not forget Hamas’ soaring popularity among the Palestinians.”

Adli Sadik, a political analyst from Gaza City , agreed that Hamas would not name a presidential candidate.

He went far by saying that it could even support Fatah’s candidate Mahmmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

“It has everything to do with politics and it all depends on the negotiating table,” Sadik told IOL.

He further expected cut-throat elections unlike the 1996 polls.

Arafat, who symbolized the Palestinian struggle for independence for four decades, died at a French military hospital Thursday, November11 , at the age of 75 of a still-unidentified illness.

Interim Palestinian president Rawhi Fatouh had declared holding the presidential elections on January9 .

The caretaker of the Palestinian Authority, speaker of the parliament Rawhi Fatouh, issued Sunday, November14 , a presidential decree setting January 9 as the date for the long-anticipated presidential election.

He said that the election campaign will begin December 27 and continue until January8 , the last day before the elections.

The mainstream Fatah movement nominated Monday, November22 , PLO chief Mahmmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to run in the election.

Abu Mazen vowed to follow in Yasser Arafat’s footsteps and demand that Israel recognize the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees.

http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2004-11/24/article02.shtml