Prime Minister in Gaza Likely To Become Hamas Leader

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The Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, is likely to be elected as chairman of the party, replacing the exiled Khaled Meshaal, with whom Haniyeh clashed and who announced his resignation recently. But, Fathi Sabbah writes, the organization is facing criticism because of its secretiveness.

Palestinian sources told Al-Hayat that "[the Prime Minister in Gaza] Ismail Haniyeh is likely to be elected as chairman of the executive committee of the Hamas movement in the next few days or weeks, thus succeeding the current head of the movement’s political bureau, Khaled Meshaal.” The sources said that the name of the new chairman of the executive committee will likely remain a secret.

The sources added that "Haniyeh is the most likely figure to be nominated and to win the presidency of the movement's executive committee, which will take the place of its political bureau following an amendment recently introduced regarding the movement’s bylaws. The sources explained that “most of the movement's leaders support Haniyeh’s candidacy for the leadership of the movement in the next phase,” as “Meshaal may become general supervisor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Palestine.”

It should be mentioned that it is not permissible for any of the movement's leaders to run for any office or organizational rank — regardless of the level — given that no one is entitled to nominate themselves in the movement. Candidates should be nominated by others. Members of the executive committee, whose number is still unknown, will be elected after the election of the movement's General Shura Council, which will take place in the next few days.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, member of the movement’s political bureau, has recently announced that he would not run for the presidency of the movement, in compliance with the rule according to which "the post is a mandate, not an honor.”

However, one or more of the movement’s leaders may nominate Marzouk for the presidency of the executive committee. Marzouk has been based in Cairo for several months and he does not have as many supporters among the movement's leaders as Haniyeh.

"Hamas is an institution ... and no one had nominated himself, neither Meshaal nor Abu Marzouk. The institution is responsible for nominating, voting for and choosing its leaders,” Abu Marzouk said.

"In this regard, Hamas adopts an electoral policy based on secrecy for objective reasons. But on the other hand, states, organizations and the press are entitled to know what is going on within the movement because this is no longer a personal issue, but rather a general issue concerning everyone. Therefore, some policies must be changed. Eventually all of these concerns will be addressed in the context of the bylaws of the movement,” Abu Marzouk added.

Furthermore, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the movement's political bureau, announced that "defining" who will succeed Meshaal will take place following the formation of the movement’s General Shura Council. In an interview with Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, Hayya said on Saturday night that "the movement is not done forming its own Shura Council, and that once completed, they will then determine who will succeed Meshaal.” He stressed that "Meshaal has reiterated his desire not to run for presidency of the movement again for personal reasons.”

"The Hamas leadership is not a something that is being fought over. It is open to all eligible leaders within the Shura Council. Once the Shura Council convenes, all of its members will be eligible for the leadership of the movement,” Hayya said.

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Found in: khaled meshaal, ismail haniyeh, hamas, fatah-hamas reconciliation
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