Hamas on Thursday warned against postponing legislative elections slated for July 17, saying it was designed to serve the interests of the ruling Fatah party.
The warning came following statements made by Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying the PA was seriously considering delaying the elections.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said his movement has rejected an offer by Abbas to agree to postpone elections in exchange for ministers in the unity cabinet.
PA official: Parliament elections, should be postponed
As a sign of growing concerns by the Fatah the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority over the electoral gains made by the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, Fatah leaders insist that the parliamentarian election set for July 17, should be delayed.
The call for the delay came from Tayyeb Abdul Rahim, a senior aide for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Acting based on advise from Fatah activists that the party will be defeated if elections are held in July, Abbas is leaning towards the delay, despite his promises to Hamas to hold the vote on time.
Fatah is planning to delay the election until after Israel withdraws from Gaza Strip which can be claimed as an achievement for Abbas which might raise Fatah’s popularity over Hamas.
Additionally, the party is preparing for its convention in August which might usher some younger reform-minded generation to key positions in the party, hoping to help cure the party from its chronic corruption.
Hamas, which gained more ground in local elections last week, insists Abbas stick to the election date, part of a truce deal negotiated among the Palestinian factions in March.
Although no decision has been made to postpone the vote, Abdul Rahim referred to ‘legal, political and national reasons’ as the reason behind the delay.
He noted that the Palestinian parliament, controlled by Fatah, has not yet passed a new election law it has been debating for several months. ‘That makes it difficult to conduct elections on time,’ he said.
Last month, Hamas rejected an offer by Fatah to join the current government if they agree to postpone the election until the end of the year.
Hamas, who boycotted the Presidential elections held in January to elect a successor to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, has decided to take part of this election.
Fatah hopes by Hamas joining the elections, it will disarm its resistance groups and become more involved in the political process.
Israel on the other hand, warned that Israel will reconsider the disengagement plan if Hamas wins the Palestinian Parliament elections.