Palestinian factions agreed on Tuesday on steps aimed at ensuring Palestinian elections are held as planned later this year and pledged to respect their results.
In a joint statement released after two days of talks in Cairo, Fatah and Hamas committed to an election decree issued by Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas last month in which parliamentary elections would be held May 22 followed by presidential elections on July 31.
No Palestinian elections have been conducted in the West Bank, Gaza and East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) for 15 years amid a rift between Abbas’s Fatah group and the Hamas resistance movement.
Both groups along with 12 other Palestinian factions, including the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, pledged “to abide by the timetable” for balloting and “respect and accept” the results.
The groups agreed on the formation of an “election court”, with judges from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, to rule in any election legal disputes, the statement said.
It said Fatah police would guard voting sites in the West Bank and Hamas police would deploy in Gaza.
Fatah and Hamas also agreed to release detainees held on political grounds in the West Bank and Gaza and allow unrestricted campaigning.
The factions, meanwhile, thanked Egypt for its meditative role in the talks, according to the statement.
Separately, the Islamic Jihad movement announced it will not take part in the legislative elections.