Abbas plans to change electoral rules in order to block Hamas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he would decree a change in Palestinian electoral rules that might make it harder for Hamas to maintain its parliamentary majority won last year. Abbas told Reuters he could not set a date yet for new elections. Nor could he yet say whether he would run himself for re-election as president.
In the interview, Abbas noted parliamentary and presidential elections must be held simultaneously in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to Abbas, after he has met the Central Electoral Commission on Friday, he will not only issue decrees setting early elections but also decree that parliamentary polls be contested only by nationwide party lists.
"We will amend the electoral law," the Palestinian leader said, adding that decrees could be issued as early as next week. "I will use Article 43 of the Basic Law, which gives me the power to make those changes, to change the electoral law to a single national list instead of having two lists, one national and one by constituencies," he said.
Under the existing rules, half the seats in parliament are allocated to parties according their share of the national vote and half are allocated to local constituencies.
Asked whether voting could take place in the West Bank while leaving an election in Gaza Strip aside or holding it over for later, he said: "We do not want to divide the homeland. "We are seeking elections in both the West Bank and Gaza. There can be no division according to the electoral law."