Abbas gets new title: president of state
rahul | November 23, 2008 at 05:19 pmby
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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The PLO voted late Sunday to give Mahmoud Abbas an additional title of president of the Palestinian state, a symbolic gesture seen as part of the anticipated showdown with rivals from the Islamic militant Hamas over the end of Abbas' term. Abbas was elected Palestinian Authority president in 2005. Hamas says his term ends in January. Abbas' loyalists say he has an additional year. Hamas rules Gaza, while Abbas controls the West Bank. The head of the 75-member PLO Central Council. Salim Zaanoun, said the title has been vacant since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004. «This proposal passed, and Abu Mazen (Abbas) was elected by consensus, with the opposition of one member,» he said.The position is symbolic because a Palestinian state has not yet been created. Abbas' aides are expected to use his new title to counter Hamas' arguments that he should step aside in January. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rejected the decision, because the PLO council is not an elected body. «They were never elected by the Palestinian people, and those who were not elected have no right to elect others, « he said.
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