JERUSALEM - Consultations to form a national unity government will begin as soon as the Central Elections Commission announces it is operating in the Gaza Strip, a Fatah official said Saturday.
"As soon as the CEC declares the beginning of operations in Gaza, I will head to Cairo right away to start talks for building a unity government,” said Azzam al-Ahmad, who heads Fatah's reconciliation team.
Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal will meet within 10 days of the announcement of a unity government, al-Ahmad added.
Earlier Saturday, Hamas official Osamah Hamdan said Hamas and Fatah delegations would meet in Cairo next week to discuss candidates for the new cabinet, the Gaza-based Al-Resalah news site reported.
Hanna Nasser, the head of the Central Elections Committee, is expected to arrive in Gaza on Monday.
Yasser al-Wadia, the general coordinator for independent political figures, told Ma'an on Saturday that the CEC will add 250,000 - 300,000 new voters to the electoral register in Gaza.
Hamas and Fatah have led separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank since they split violently in 2007.
The rival parties signed a reconciliation deal in May 2011 and pledged to form a government of technocrats to prepare for elections.