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Rivals Fatah, Hamas agree to electoral code of conduct ahead of Palestinian elections

Published: Updated:

Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas agreed Tuesday in Cairo to a code of conduct to ensure upcoming elections are run based on “transparency and integrity.”

The parliamentary and presidential polls are set for May 22 and July 31, respectively, and will be the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.

In a copy obtained by AFP, the 25-point electoral code of conduct stressed the “criminalization and prohibition of using weapons... during electoral activities.”

Hamas, blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, won an unexpected landslide at the last elections in 2006, a victory not recognized by President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah.

That led to bloody clashes the following year and a split in Palestinian governance.

Fatah has since run the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Hamas has held power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, the year Israel imposed a devastating blockade on the coastal enclave.

To avoid a repetition of the tensions and violence that erupted in 2009, the two groups met in Cairo in February and agreed a series of steps, including setting up an “electoral court” to oversee the polls.

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The 14 signatories, representing their respective political factions, also declared they were committed to respecting the results of the forthcoming elections.

Other commitments focused on not “inciting violence” against candidates or voters heading to the polls.

Religious places of worship are not to be used for campaigning and candidates must refrain from igniting “sectarian” differences were also listed.