Abbas threatens snap elections

Palestinian president to call for polls in 2009 if Fatah and Hamas fail to patch up.

    Abbas did not clarify how elections could be held
    in Gaza if Hamas rejected the idea [AFP]

    "We reject the calling of the elections because it is illegal and unconstitutional," Fawzi Barhum, a Hamas spokesman, said.

    Taher al-Nunu, another Hamas spokesman, said: "The law does not give any authority to the president on parliament and nobody can dissolve it before" elections are due in 2010.

    Hamas won a victory in the last parliamentary elections in 2006.

    Blame game

    Fatah and Hamas blame each other for obstructing efforts by Egypt to heal the rift between the Palestinians, which has undermined Abbas's efforts to negotiate peace with Israel.

    Gaza and the West Bank remain divided [AFP]
    Abbas did not say how a single election could be held, given that Fatah and Hamas now dominate separate territories. While Fatah controls the West Bank, Hamas is in control of Gaza.

    Neither did he did address the probability that Hamas would refuse to take part, given that it has rejected previous election calls.

    Abbas fired the Hamas-led government after the group took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007 in fighting with Fatah loyalists who were driven out.

    Hamas says it will not recognise Abbas as president once his four-year term expires on January 9. The group has demanded new presidential elections.

    Abbas says the law gives him the right to stay in power until 2010.

    Abbas said Egypt had drafted a reconciliation deal calling for a non-factional government to end the Palestinian split and prepare for new elections. But Hamas abstained from scheduled talks in Cairo earlier this month before they began.

    "This is not the end of the road. We will pursue our efforts. We will continue," Abbas said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    The Palestinian president defended himself against accusations by Hamas that he is a puppet of Israel and the United States. "I do not succumb to the Israeli-American veto. I do what is in the interest of the Palestinian people."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    From the US to Afghanistan: Rediscovering the mother who left me

    From the US to Afghanistan: Rediscovering the mother who left me

    Tracee Herbaugh's mother, Sharon, abandoned her when she was born, pursuing a career from which she never returned.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    On a gorgeous Florida evening, a truck crashed into me. As I lay in intensive care, I learned who had been driving it.