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Friday, April 13, 2018
Abbas Insists on Holding National Council in Ramallah Despite Pressure

Abbas Insists on Holding National Council in Ramallah Despite Pressure
Asharq Al-Awsat Friday, 13 April, 2018 - 10:15
Ramallah - Kifah Ziboun
https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1236431/abbas-insists-holding-national-council-ramallah-despite-pressure

The Palestinian National Council will convene at the end of April in
Ramallah to elect a new executive committee for the PLO, regardless of
continued boycott by some factions, well-informed sources told Asharq
Al-Awsat.

The sources stressed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wanted to
finalize “the most important step in the process of the renewal of
legitimacy” in order to fortify the PLO in the face of external challenges.

They expressed high hopes that the Fatah leadership would reach an agreement
with the factions opposing the convening of the National Council in
Ramallah, adding that the president was insisting on holding the event in
light of the current difficult situation.

Hamas said it was against the holding of the council without national
consensus, calling instead for a “national rescue conference”. The Popular
Front – the second largest faction in the PLO – and the Islamic Jihad, have
also rejected to participate in what was described as the “Ramallah
council.”

Fatah is seeking to hold the National Council in Ramallah to elect a new
executive committee for the PLO, as the last step in the renewal of
authorities, which is aimed at securing a smooth transition of power in the
event of any forced absence of Abbas.

The meeting, which is expected to take place on April 30, comes a year after
the elections within the Fatah Movement, which brought about a new Central
Committee and a Revolutionary Council.

Fatah and Popular Front officials are expected to meet in Egypt for several
consecutive days to come up with a consensual formula on the National
Council. PFLP officials announced that they would propose the postponement
of the normal session until a consensus was reached on the convening of a
national reconciliation council based on the Cairo 2011 agreements and the
outputs of the preparatory committee in Beirut in order to ensure the
participation of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The National Council serves as the Parliament of the PLO, representing all
Palestinians at home and abroad. It currently has around 650 members, who
represent Palestinian factions, forces and unions everywhere.

The Council has convened 22 times since it was founded, the most recent of
which was a special session in Ramallah in 2009, which ended with the
appointment and election of six new members to the Organization.

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