Abbas Withstands Pressure to Run for PLO Executive Committee

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas told Fatah's central committee that he has no intention of standing in the upcoming elections for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, the secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Amin Maqbul, said Tuesday.

"Abu Mazen said that he wants to give a space for other factions to participate. … We asked him to think again, especially in this hard and serious period, and amid the effort by some people to get rid of him," Maqbul told the Ma'an news agency.

He did not identify any individuals by name, but he alleged that a number of Palestinian factions are trying to "complicate" Palestinian political statutes.

The Fatah secretary-general said that although Abbas will quit as head of the PLO, which he has presided over for 10 years, he does not intend to retire from politics and will remain PA chairman.

Abbas was among 11 other senior officials, including Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi to announce their resignation from the PLO Executive Committee at the end of August.

It was subsequently announced that the Palestinian National Council — the PLO's legislative body — would convene in mid-September to elect a new executive committee.

Experts have stated that Abbas’s goal in his resignation from the PLO is to reshape the body and appoint his associates to key posts.

Abbas’s opponents claim that he is trying to produce an executive committee composed entirely of people under his command, so that even if he leaves his position as PA chairman, as was recently speculated, he will continue to remotely control what is happening on the Palestinian street.

The PNC session is currently scheduled for September 14-15 in Ramallah, Ma’an reported, and Maqbul said Tuesday that the full list of Fatah candidates would be revealed soon, after consultations were completed.

A separate Palestinian source told Ma'an that Erekat will also not be standing in the coming election.

In July, Erekat took office as secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, prompting speculation that he is being lined up to succeed Abbas as PA chief.

The last PNC meeting was an emergency meeting held in 2009 to replace six vacant council positions, while the last Executive Committee elections were held in 1996 during a PNC session in Gaza.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200197

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