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Will Hamas military wing topple Haniyeh’s candidacy?

Ismail Haniyeh knows that even if he is elected as the head of Hamas’ political bureau, the military wing will be the one that rules Hamas.
Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh delivers a sermon during Friday prayers in Gaza City October 9, 2015. Haniyeh called on Palestinians to step up their fight against Israel, describing the recent surge in violence in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as the beginning of a new uprising, or intifada. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem  - RTS3QIL
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Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to return to Gaza in the near future — about five months after he left the Gaza Strip with most of the members of his family for Qatar. He will be coming back to keep a close eye on the election process for the Shura Council, the highest council of the movement and the one that determines its policy. It is the Shura Council that elects the political bureau members and the leader of the movement. Haniyeh is the leading candidate to replace Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshaal, who announced last summer that he would not run for leadership of the movement but would continue to remain a foot soldier in its ranks. Meshaal understands that Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, opposes the continuation of his tenure, and it would be impossible for him to be re-elected with such a determined opposition.

The elections for the Shura Council are confidential. The number of candidates, their identity and the voting process are all secret; even the number of delegates is well-guarded. This is because of their concern that Israel will try to harm those involved.

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