Hamas lawmakers urges Abbas to legally end presidential term on Jan. 8

GAZA, Oct. 6 – Palestinian lawmakers from the Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza decided Monday that the presidential term of President Mahmoud Abbas would legally end on Jan. 8, 2009. The Hamas-dominant Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) made the decision in a resolution passed during a special PLC session in Gaza on the legal aspects of the presidential term of Abbas, also the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The lawmakers called on Abbas to call for new presidential elections within the coming days, according to the resolution.

Sixty days after late leader Yasser Arafat died on Nov. 11, 2004, Abbas who ran for the Palestinian presidency on Jan. 9, had succeeded Arafat after being elected as the new president.

Hamas says that according to the basic law, the presidential term for Abbas is four years and ends on Jan. 8.

Hamas wants to nominate PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik as the interim president for sixty days.

If Dweik, who is also a senior Hamas leader in the West Bank, remains in the Israeli custody, Hamas wants to nominate Dweik’s deputy Ahmed Bahar as the interim president for sixty days until new presidential elections are held.

But the Hamas-dominant parliament has not fully convened with all members since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in mid June last year. The Hamas block in the PLC kept holding sessions, saying there are legal PLC sessions.

Around 40 PLC members, most of them belong to Hamas, were arrested by Israel in the West Bank after Hams armed wing kidnapped the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit in Gaza in late June 2006.

Hamas leaders will travel on Tuesday to Cairo for bilateral talks with Egyptian security officials to prepare for a comprehensive dialogue that is expected to be held in early November.

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