Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasReuters

Representatives of Palestinian Arab organizations are scheduled to meet in early February in Cairo to discuss the mechanism for holding general elections to the Palestinian parliament, presidency and Palestinian National Council, which is the parliament of the PLO.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala website, political commentator Hussam al-Dajani said that the meeting of representatives of the organizations in Cairo would discuss the question of compiling a joint slate for the Fatah movement (headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas) and the Hamas movement (led by Ismail Haniyeh) which will run in the elections for the leadership of the PA.

According to initial reports, the Fatah movement wants Hamas to have a smaller representation on the joint list, and this position may place obstacles in the way of reaching an agreement between the two organizations on this issue.

Dajani also noted that a possible decision by Marwan Barghouti, who is serving several life sentences in Israel for his role in planning terrorist attacks against Israelis, to run on a separate list for the PA leadership, may hurt Abbas’ chances in the election, and he may cancel or postpone them as a result.

Abbas recently issued a decree ordering general elections in PA-assigned territories.

The decree states that legislative elections will take place on May 22. A “presidential” election will take place on July 31. It sets a deadline of August 31 for establishing the Palestinian National Council.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.