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Hamas re-elects Meshaal as leader

The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – announced on Tuesday the re-election of Mr Khaled Meshaal as head of its political bureau for the next four years, a briefed official statement said.

“Thanks to Allah, Hamas completed all the preparatory procedures for the election of its institutions following established democratic criteria,” the statement said. “The last stage was the convention of the normal Consultative – Shura – Council in Cairo to elect the head and members of the political bureau.”

The new four-year term of the Shura Council, which started work on Monday 1, 2013, was called “The term of Martyr Ahmed al-Jaabari”; a reference to the Hamas leader whose assassination had set off the war on Gaza last November.

The statement confirmed that the members of the Shura Council elected Meshaal for a new term in office and Ismail Haniyya as his deputy.

It was repeatedly reported that Mr Meshaal was unwilling to accept a new term. Hamas internal law does not give anyone the right to nominate himself for office. However, when someone is unwilling to accept a role he is chosen for, he is obliged to assume it unless he proves his inability.

Informed sources said that the process to elect two other deputies to Meshaal is still incomplete. “It is unlikely that the names of those deputies would be announced,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, an additional number of Shura Council members were also elected beside those elected earlier from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and abroad.

In the statement, Hamas thanked Egypt for hosting the elections. They were held at a secret location specified by the Egyptian intelligence service.

Hamas leaders kept away from the Egyptian media to avoid interruption by journalists keen to interview them after recent accusations of interference in Egypt’s internal affairs and assisting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas elects its political bureau every four years. The elections take place in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and abroad. Hamas’ prisoners elect their own leadership.

The latest elections started last April and took an unusually long time because of the recent Israeli war. Another important reason, observers noted, was the refusal of Mr Meshaal to assume the leadership for a fifth term.

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