Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Sha’ath said Wednesday that the PA cannot organize parliamentary election by mid-July, pointing to the unsettled dispute between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah lawmakers.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) issued Monday a statement saying it won’t be ready for elections because of the unsettled dispute over the election bill.
"After the CEC decision, it will be impossible to hold elections on July 17. President Abbas will send the bill back to parliament [for changes]," Sha’ath told Reuters.
"If the elections are postponed a few weeks, it won’t be a big deal." He added.
Sha’ath said that no formal decision had yet been made to put off the vote.
Prior to departing to Washington, Abbas said that he wants to delay holding elections until November.
Hamas: Abbas wants to delay poll until November
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to postpone the Palestinian parliamentary elections until November, a spokesman for Hamas, Mohammed Ghazal, said Wednesday.
Ghazal refrained to comment on media reports that Hamas has agreed to the requested delay.
Report: Hamas agreed to election delay
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has won agreement from Hamas leaders for a proposal to delay parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for mid-July, Al Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported.
Hamas had so far dismissed calls to delay elections, saying the call for a delay was designed to serve the interest of the ruling Fatah party.
The Palestinian central election committee said on Monday that holding parliamentary elections on time was "logistically impossible".
Fatah leaders have been calling for an election delay to allow the movement to hold its general conference and elect its candidates.
The Palestinian legislative council, against Abbas’s well, approved an election bill that calls for electing 70 of legislators regionally, and only 30% through party lists.
Most of Palestinian factions demanded that Abbas rejects the approved bill, because it was contrary to the Cairo understandings in which all factions approved the 50% division between party lists and regional elections.
According to Al Quds al-Arabi report, Abbas pledged to Hamas leaders that the elections would be held on the bases of electing half of the legislators regionally, and the other half according to party lists.
Even as the report did not mention an alternative date for the poll, it is likely that Abbas is seeking to hold elections after the Israeli pullout from the Gaza strip.
Abbas’s major worry is likely to be allowing Hamas to develop into a major legitimate political power while still holding an armed wing, therefore becomes an alternative PA within the PA.
Israel and the United States have been pressing on Abbas to disarm Hamas and other resistance groups. Abbas preferred disarmament through dialogue.