Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officials
Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officialsFlash 90

Representatives of Palestinian Arab organizations who met in Cairo on Tuesday announced that they had reached a comprehensive agreement on holding general elections to the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliament in May this year and then for the Palestinian “presidency” and national council.

According to the agreements reached, Egypt will invite the PA’s Central Election Commission and representatives of Palestinian Arab organizations to discuss the elections for the Palestinian National Council, and an election court will be established by order of the Palestinian Authority chairman. The court will include judges from Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The organizations also agreed to end political detentions, on the immediate release of political detainees, to ensure freedom of action for all organizations in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and freedom of expression in the run-up to the elections.

PA chairman Mahmoud 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.