x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Fatah and Hamas strike power-share agreement

Palestinian political factions agree on a new timetable for a power-sharing deal that envisions elections in about six months, officials said.

RAMALLAH // Hamas and Fatah have agreed on a new timetable for a power-sharing deal that envisions elections in about six months, officials said.

Reconciliation efforts have stalled repeatedly and it is unclear if the latest agreement - brokered by Egypt and signed in Cairo - would end the impasse.

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah's leader, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, in 2007, leaving him with only the West Bank.

This year, Mr Abbas and Hamas' top leader, Khaled Meshaal, agreed that the Palestinian president should head an interim government that prepares for elections. But the agreement never got off the ground due to disagreements over implementation, plus opposition from Hamas leaders who balked at giving up some of their powers.

Under the timetable agreed on Sunday, the Palestinian election commission would begin updating voter records in Gaza on May 27.

Within 10 days, Mr Abbas and Mr Meshaal would form the interim government, which would be in office for no more than six months, according to Azzam Al Ahmed of Fatah and Fawzi Barhoum of Hamas.

The interim government would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections, the officials said.