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PNC congress postponed

September 9, 2015

A rare session of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) scheduled for mid-September has been postponed. The meeting had been called to re-elect members of the PLO's executive body, including Mahmoud Abbas.

Fahne Palästina
Image: Getty Images/C. Furlong

The congress will be delayed by no more than three months, Salim al-Zanoon, head of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which represents those in the Palestinian territories and diaspora, told reporters on Wednesday.

It was originally scheduled for September 14 and 15 and would have been the first ordinary session since 1996. The PNC serves as a kind of parliament for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The PNC congress was meant to include a vote which would have seen members of the PLO's 18-member executive body, which functions as a quasi-government , re-elected.

The announcement came amid speculation on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's political future. He, along with one-third of the PLO's executive, had planned to officially resign from his post as the chairman of the PLO Executive Committee at the session, Abbas said last month.

It was unclear whether Abbas would stand again as chairman, amid much speculation that he did not wish to continue. Abbas, who is 80 years old, is said to be tired and frustrated with the lack of any negotiations with Israel and the collapse of the peace process.

Abbas has repeatedly said the PLO, which is dominated by Abbas's secular Fatah movement , was the sole representative of the Palestinian people, in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora. Islamist movement Hamas, which currently rules the Gaza Strip, does not recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

ng/kms (AFP, dpa)