'Abbas is Fatah's only presidential candidate'

Fatah leaders in West Bank appeal to Abbas to run for another term; "Abbas is the only one that can beat Hamas," senior Fatah officials says; Hamas, Fatah, to hold talks in Cairo to discuss reconciliation agreements.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is Fatah’s only candidate in the presidential elections, slated for May 2012, a senior Fatah official said Saturday.
The official said that most Fatah leaders in the West Bank have appealed to Abbas to run for another term.
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“We don’t have anyone better than President Abbas,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “He’s the only one who could defeat Hamas.”
Abbas, whose term in office expired in January 2009, has declared in the past that he does not plan to seek re-election.
But in recent weeks Fatah’s two important bodies, the Central Committee and Revolutionary Council, have asked Abbas to run in the next election as the faction’s sole candidate.
Meanwhile, Hamas and Fatah representatives are scheduled to hold talks in Cairo Sunday to discuss the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between the two parties.
The two sides will also discuss plans to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip next May.
Sunday’s meeting is designed to pave the way for a gathering of leaders of several Palestinian groups that support putting an end to the Hamas-Fatah power struggle.
The Fatah delegation is headed by Azzam al-Ahmed, while Hamas’s team is led by Musa Abu Marzouk.
Sources close to the two sides said they did not expect any progress on the formation of a Palestinian unity government. However, the two parties are expected to reach understandings on other issues such as elections and reconstructing the PLO and the Palestinian security forces.
The meeting comes one month after the summit between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the Egyptian capital.
The two agreed last month to “open a new page” in their relations and work toward the establishment of the reconciliation accord that was announced last May.
Since the summit, Hamas and Fatah have traded allegations over the continued arrests of their supporters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
On the eve of the Cairo talks, the Fatah Central Committee, whose members met in Ramallah Saturday, announced that reconciliation with Hamas was its “strategic option.”