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Hamas to Form Cabinet, Loser Fatah Not Joining
by Islam Online (reposted)
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 5:17 PM
RAMALLAH, West Bank, January26 , 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was expected Thursday, January26 , to ask the resistance group Hamas, tipped to have swept the legislative polls and secured a parliamentary majority, to form the new cabinet, amid increasing signals from his defeated Fatah that it would not join any coalition government.
"President Abbas will give Hamas the task of forming the government, in which Fatah will not participate," chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, a leading Fatah member, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The victors must assume their responsibilities towards our people in every field -- political, security, economic and national," he added.

The Palestinian Central Election Commission said the vote count had not been completed and that it would make an official announcement later on Thursday evening.

However, officials in both Hamas and Fatah concurred the resistance group appeared to have captured a large majority of seats in Wednesday's legislative elections, the first in a decade.

Acknowledging the defeat, Premier Ahmed Qorei and his cabinet ministers resigned Thursday.

"This is the choice of the people. It should be respected," he said.

But the government remained in office in a caretaker capacity.

Under the law, Abbas must ask the largest party in the new parliament to form the next government.

Coalition

Winner Hamas said it remains ready to negotiate with Abbas and other parties on political partnership.

"Hamas is not going to work alone, but with the other groups who represent the Palestinian people," chief candidate Ismail Haniya said Thursday.

"We will negotiate with Abu Mazen (Abbas) and other parties over forming a political partnership.

"We want to work with you together because the challenges facing the Palestinian people are great and the fight is still long," he said, addressing his remarks to long-dominant Fatah.

"We will meet Abu Mazen and other groups, and doubtless we will reach a satisfactory formula for all the Palestinian people," Haniya said.

He added that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had telephoned Abbas from Damascus to "thank him for the elections", telling him that the ballot had "opened the door to national unity".

"He (Meshaal) stressed Hamas insists on a partnership with all the Palestinian factions, especially our brothers in Fatah," Hamas said on its Web site.

Haniya also said he would consult all resistance factions on future political partnerships.

Before the elections, Hamas said it does not want to govern alone, and would prefer to bring Fatah into a coalition.

Haniya called on Washington to respect the result of the elections.

"I call on the American administration to respect ... the will of the Palestinian people and the result of the ballot."

Israel and the United States have said they would not deal with a government led by Hamas.

Maneuvering

As political maneuvering gathered steam, long-dominant Fatah signaled it might leave Hamas bearing the burden of governing alone and set itself up as the main opposition party in parliament.

"We will set as the loyal opposition in parliament," Erekat told Al-Jazeera news channel.

Jibril Al-Rajoub, national security advisor and a senior Fatah official, agreed.

"Fatah rejects participating in a government formed by Hamas," he told Reuters. "Hamas has to take up its responsibilities. Fatah will act as a responsible opposition."

Nabil Amr, a former minister and leading Fatah member, was of the same position.

"Fatah will not join any government under Hamas," he told the Doha-based broadcaster.

Abbas was backing the push for Fatah to stay out of any Hamas-led cabinet, sources close to him said, adding that Fatah's executive would have the final say.

Before the election, members of Fatah's younger leadership generation had suggested forming a national unity government with Hamas following the ballot.

Fatah has held a near-monopoly on power since the Palestinian Authority was created in1994 .

But it has been divided by infighting in recent years, and its future is now uncertain.

Pundits believe many Palestinians voted to punish Fatah for corruption and mismanagement.

http://islamonline.net/English/News/2006-01/26/article03.shtml
by Islam Online (reposted)
Thursday Jan 26th, 2006 5:17 PM


By Mustafa el-Sawwaf, IOL Correspondent

RAMALLAH, January26 , 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – The Palestinian resistance group Hamas won an absolute majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, almost the double of long-dominant Fatah's share, according to official results announced on Thursday, January26 .

The Change and Reform list of Hamas garnered 76 seats in the133 -seat Palestinian Legislative Council, nearly57 . 6percent of the seats up for grabs, Hanna Nasser, the head of the Central Election Commission, told a press conference.

He said the resistance group won 30 seats at the national level and46 others in constituencies.

Of the 132 seats in parliament up for grabs, 66 were elected on a constituency basis and 66 via proportional representation-style lists.

Before the announcement, officials in both Hamas and Fatah concurred the resistance group appeared to have captured a large majority of seats in Wednesday's legislative elections, the first in a decade.

"The Change and Reform list is advancing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a top Hamas leader, told IslamOnline.net earlier Thursday.

"Hamas has won over all other runners in the polls."

Acknowledging the defeat, Premier Ahmed Qorei and his cabinet ministers resigned Thursday hours before the announcement of the results.

Under the law, President Mahmoud Abbas must ask the largest party in the new parliament to form the next government.

Double Fatah

Hamas captured all seats up for grasp in the constituencies of Salvit, North Gaza and Tubas.

It won eight out of nine seats in Al-Khalil (Hebron), four out of six in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), four out of five in Khan Yunis, four out of five in Ramallah, five out of eight in Gaza City and five out of six in Nablus.

The ruling Fatah movement, meanwhile, won 27 seats on the national level and only 16 of the constituencies.

It won exclusively in the constituencies of Ariha (Jericho), Rafah and Qalqilya.

Among the high-profile Fatah losers were national security advisor Jibril Rajub and former information minister Nabil Amr.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won three seats while another leftist coalition, Al-Badil, won two seats.

The Independent Palestine list, led by presidential election runner-up Mustapha Barghuti, won two seats.

Two seats were taken up by the Third Way coalition, whose chief candidates were outgoing finance minister Salam Fayad and the former peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.

Only four independent candidates were voted to the legislature.

On Wednesday, exit polls showed Hamas had won at least 53 seats and that Fatah, which has dominated Palestinian politics for decades, had got 58 .

The election results would put Hamas in a position to set the shape of the future Palestinian government.

Chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, a winning Fatah candidate, said Abbas will ask Hamas to form the new government.

He and several other Fatah officials said their group would not join any Hamas-led government.

http://islamonline.net/English/News/2006-01/26/article01.shtml