- Title: WEST BANK: Hundreds rally in support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
- Date: 10th November 2009
- Summary: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (NOVEMBER 9, 2009) (REUTERS) HUNDREDS OF MEN IN CROWD IN STREET DURING RALLY SPEAKERS ON STAGE NEAR CROWD MAN SPEAKING TO AUDIENCE
- Embargoed: 25th November 2009 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAIVUDVAKDCAQE8S1RPL0HJJZ1
- Story Text: Several hundred supporters of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rallied in the West Bank on Monday (November 9) to urge him to run again for the presidency, following his announcement last Thursday (November 5) that he did not want a second term in the job.
On the second consecutive day of rallies, supporters waving flags and portraits of Abbas gathered in the Manara square in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Many analysts believe his announcement could be a tactic to prompt the United States to put more pressure on Israel to halt all West Bank settlement building -- a step demanded by Abbas for the resumption of peace talks.
Abbas has built his political career around negotiating a peace deal with Israel. He voiced disappointment in his speech last Thursday (November 5) with what he described as the United States "favouring" Israel in arguments over re-launching peace talks.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which Abbas also heads, has rejected his announcement, urging him to stay on.
Given his position as head of the PLO, Abbas is expected to remain a central figure in any peace talks.
Abbas, 74, replaced the late Yasser Arafat as president five years ago. His call for presidential and legislative elections has been rejected by the Islamist group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 and contests Abbas's legitimacy as president.
Hamas defeated Abbas's Fatah movement in the last Palestinian parliamentary elections, held in 2006.
Given Hamas's decision to ban the coming elections in the Gaza Strip, many analysts doubt whether the election will go ahead at all, and if it will, analysts say the legitimacy of such elections may be questioned.
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