Monday, November 28, 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas set May 4 as the date for general elections

By Gobby Wang

Taiwan -29-11-2011-

According to AP, it reported, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Monday that he set May 4 as the date for general elections. It meant to end up a long-standing crack that has left his people divided between rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians have been rifted since Hamas militants overran Gaza in 2007. Hamas controls Gaza, while Abbas\' Palestinian Authority rules in the West Bank. Abbas, on a state visit to Austria, had mentioned May before as the likely month for the vote but Monday was the first time that he set a specific date. \"We are planning to hold the elections on May 4, God willing,\" Abbas told a news conference. Abbas\' Fatah faction and Hamas agreed last May to a reconciliation plan culminating in elections. But implementation of that plan has been slow with the sides at odds over the formation of an interim government of technocrats that could prepare the two territories for the vote. In particular, they have been unable to agree upon a prime minister. Besides, Abbas is facing a lot of financial pressure with the vote with Israel monthly holding back some $100 million of funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians each month. The Israelis have threatened that the move could turn permanent if Abbas forms a unity government with Hamas — an Islamic militant group that has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other violence

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