GAZA CITY (AFP) -
The radical Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad
announced it would boycott Januaryís election to
appoint a successor to Yasser Arafat as head of
the Palestinian Authority.
"We in Islamic Jihad
we have our own priority to restore our land,
which means a policy of resistance is fundamental
to us," Jihad leader Nafez Azzem told reporters in
president will have certain restrictions imposed
on him. He will have relations with Israel and the
United States, and consequently we are not going
to participate in the election," Azzem added.
The Palestinians plan
to hold an election on January 9 to choose a new
president of the Palestinian Authority after the
death of their veteran leader in France last
presidential, legislative and municipal polls in
the occupied territories had been due to take
place in early 2005, but with Arafatís death the
date for the presidential vote was brought
The last ó and only ó
Palestinian elections were held in January 1996
after the 1993 Oslo accords that led to the launch
of limited autonomy and creation of the
Palestinian Authority the following year.
Jihad had not been
expected to contest the election as it has
consistently rejected the Oslo accords, which have
effectively been nullified by four years of deadly
Its larger Islamist
rival Hamas, which likewise rejects the Oslo
accords, on Monday called for local and
parliamentary elections to be held in tandem with
the presidential vote.
"We are insisting on
the need for legislative and municipal elections
in addition to the presidential poll," Hamas
spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri told journalists.
"We are opposed to
any monopoly on power," Abu Zukhri said, adding
that Hamas would announce later whether it would
actually take part in the vote.
Both groups were
among the main Palestinian factions to held talks
on security in the occupied territories with
Mahmud Abbas, who replaced Arafat as head of the
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
Arafat was head of
the Palestinian Authority, the PLO and its main
Fatah faction, but on his death three top
Palestinians were named to fill the posts.