Quraya ready to hold elections

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya has said he is ready to hold presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections in the occupied territories by June.

    Poll will go ahead only if the siege is lifted

    But Quraya pointed out that elections could only be held if Israel withdrew its forces from Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and lifted a blockade on these areas.

    Quraya was installed this month as head of an emergency cabinet.

    Hasan Abu Libdah, director of Quraya's office, quoted him as having told Palestinians that "we are ready to hold fair and honest elections in June, the latest".  
    The last Palestinian elections were held in 1996, two years after implementation of an interim peace accord with Israel, when Yasir Arafat was elected president and more than 80 lawmakers were chosen.
    Arafat had scheduled another election for January 2002, but the polling could not be held due to Israeli military restrictions clamped during the Intifada that erupted in September 2000.

    Quraya's cabinet was sworn in 5 October for a 30-day period, after Arafat declared a state of emergency over renewed Israeli threats to "remove" him.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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