PA welcomes Israeli decision on Jerusalem vote

Published January 15th, 2006 - 11:38 GMT

The Israeli cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved a proposal allowing Palestinian voting in occupied East Jerusalem. According to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal, members of "terror" organizations will not be able to run as candidates in the election. This means Israel will not allow the particiaption of Hamas candidates in the elections.


According to Haaretz, votes will be cast at post offices in East Jerusalem, as was the arrangement in the 1996 and 2005 elections.


"I welcome this decision," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, calling on international election monitors to ensure that election campaigning and the voting wouldn't be impeded. Erekat condemned the cabinet's exclusion of candidates from Hamas from East Jerusalem. "All parties and candidates who registered with the Central Election Committee have the full right to campaign in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem," Erekat said.


Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel's restrictions diminished Palestinian sovereignty over the election. "Hamas and other factions are able to carry out their election campaign in many ways and in different methods despite the Zionist blackmail," Masri said.


Meanwhile, a public opinion poll published by Birzeit University said Saturday that Fatah movement would gain in the upcoming legislative elections 35% while Hamas 30%, undecided 21%, and the list of Independent Palestine 6%. Results revealed 90% of Palestinian voters support holding legislative elections on time.


According to the poll, about 30% of the floating vote (undecided) favours Hamas, 24% bents towards Fatah, and 10% towards independent candidates.


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