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Haniyeh, Abu Marzouk Fiercely Compete to Succeed Meshaal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ramallah – Hamas concluded on Friday the latest phase of its internal elections, which are aimed at choosing a successor to Khaled Meshaal to head the movement’s politburo.

The internal elections saw fierce competition between former Hamas President Ismail Haniyeh and Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas politburo’s first chief, who was elected in 1992.

Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the movement held a closed session in the Qatari capital, gathering Hamas leaders in Doha as well as leaders from the Gaza Strip and others from the West Bank.

Participants, who represent the General Shura Council, concluded their meeting late Friday, as they were expected to elect the new head and two deputies of the general Shura Council, as well as the president and members of the politburo.

The sources said that while Haniyeh was regarded as the main frontrunner, the elections saw tense competition between the two candidates, adding that surprises might occur at the last minute.

In an article published in September, Asharq Al-Awsat said that Hamas Movement was seeking to elect Haniyeh to lead the politburo, replacing Mashaal.

Haniyeh, who enjoys wide Hamas popularity, is among those who call for normalizing relations with the Iranian regime and establishing good ties with Egypt and other Arab and Islamic countries.

Awaiting the outcome of the elections, the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that only one obstacle might prevent Haniyeh from winning the politburo presidency. Haniyeh resides in the Gaza Strip and his movements might be constrained by the presence of Israeli forces there.

As for Meshaal’s fate, the sources noted that the latter would be member in the Movement’s Higher Shura Council. Four years later, he will be able to run for a new term.