Fatah discusses polls, democratisation

Leaders of the mainstream Fatah Central Committee discussed preparations for upcoming Palestinian legislative elections and the democratisation of the movement on the second day of intense talks.

    Qaddoumi is the nominal leader of the ruling Fatah party

    The meeting of the 16-member Fatah Central Committee was meant to discuss reforms and resolve internal conflicts.

    Nabil Shaath, Palestinian Authority information minister, said on Saturday democratic reforms within Fatah were key on the agenda on Friday.

    "We want to re-pump democratic life into the Fatah movement," he said.

    The meeting took place in Jordan so the largest possible number of committee members could attend, including exiled leaders who refuse to deal with Israel.

    On upcoming elections, Shaath said the committee agreed to include candidates of different parties and independents within the Fatah polling lists.

    Elections delayed

    "It is necessary to rapidly negotiate the elections with all the Palestinian parties, including our brothers in the nationalist and Islamic parties," he said.

    "We want to re-pump democratic life into the Fatah movement"

    Nabil Shaath,
    PA information minister

    The elections were originally scheduled for this month but have been postponed. No new date has been set.

    Another member of the Central Committee, Azam al-Ahmad, said the leaders also defined the duties of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority.

    He did not provide details.

    Friday's meetings also tackled the relationship between the Foreign Ministry and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's political office, headed by Farouk Qaddoumi.

    Abbas' rival

    Qaddoumi is the nominal leader of the ruling Fatah party. He is seen as the strongest political rival to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Palestinian PM Ahmad Qureia
    stressed there are no tensions

    Tensions between Abbas and Qaddoumi have flared in recent months. According to Palestinian legislator Azmi Shuabi, Abbas intended to create a symbolic post to sideline Qaddoumi, who has chosen to remain in exile.

    At the end of Friday's session, Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia stressed that there was no tension between Abbas and Qaddoumi.

    "This is not an issue to be discussed because there is not tension between the two men," he said. "All the discussions are going on amicably and very well."

    Al-Ahmad said that the talks also focused on the necessity to hold Fatah's general assembly as soon as possible. No date was given.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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