'Mashaal will not seek reelection as Hamas chief'

Movement's political bureau leader will not challenge two-term limit; Hamas official says confidence lacking in unity talks.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will not run for re-election to his post as leader of the movement's political bureau, the Ma'an News Agency quoted Hamas sources as saying on Monday.
Hamas's charter places a two-term limit for the time a political bureau chief can serve. Mashaal is currently in his second term. The movement's Shura Council elects the political bureau chief.
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Mashaal's deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk and Hamas Prime Minsiter in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh were both expected to be nominated to take his place, according to the report.
Amid ongoing efforts to implement a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, a top Hamas official told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Tuesday that the talks were being "undermined by low confidence between the parties."
The Hamas leader added that a decision to move toward planning Palestinian Authority elections without first reuniting the split Hamas and West Bank governments was a major reason for the difficulties. Forming a joint government would have eased the implementation of the agreement, the official told Ma'an.
The official also accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of being distracted from the internal Palestinian unity talks by talks with Israel.