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Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal to step down after 16-years at helm

Gaza, Sun, 22 Jan 2012 ANI

Gaza, Jan 22 (ANI): The political head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, has planned to step down from his position when elections for the leadership of the Palestinian Islamist organisation take place in the next few months.


Meshaal would not seek re-nomination after 16 years at the helm, but would continue to serve the movement, a statement from the group said.


Meshaal has indicated recently that Hamas should make a strategic departure from its armed struggle to popular non-violent resistance in the wake of the Arab spring revolutions and the success of Islamist parties in elections.


The new approach caused a rift with the internal Gaza leadership, which said there would be no change in Hamas' policy.


According to The Guardian, the leader's decision to step down may indicate that the Hamas leadership within Gaza has won a power struggle.


Meshaal had also been pushing for Palestinian reconciliation and the formation of a national unity government ahead of elections.


He was also looking for a new base for the organisation amid the ongoing revolt in Syria.


Hamas had refused to back the regime of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, infuriating the Iranian government, which had sponsored both it and the Syrian leadership. (ANI)


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