The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas allowed until Monday for the Palestinian factions to express readiness to join a Hamas-led coalition to form the government.
Hamas secured an absolute majority as it won 76 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament elections held on January 25, but has been holding talks with other parties on setting up a coalition government.

Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil said two smaller factions were expected to join – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti’s Independent Palestine.

Barghouthi contested the presidential elections in January 2005 and won 19 percent against the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who won 63 percent.

Bardawil said there are still differences between Hamas and the Fatah Party over the formation of the government.  Fatah leaders have said they would not join a Hamas government. 

He added that Hamas sent letters on Saturday outlining its political program to all parties. "We gave them two days to evaluate and study this program," he said.

According to the Palestinian law, Hamas has two more weeks to form the government. 

On the other hand the and stated that they will boycott a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The Financial Times reported Saturday that U.S. officials are exerting pressure on moderate Palestinian politicians not to serve in a Hamas-led government and have warned that Washington would sever existing contacts with them if they did. 

Washington has targeted a number of independents the Islamist movement was considering for cabinet posts.

If Hamas fails to create a coalition to form the government, it is able with the number of seats it harvested in the elections to form a Hamas-only government.

Such a scenario will be preferred by and the Bush administration, says local observers, to bear the full consequences of failures that could be exacerbated by a cut-off of western aid to the Palestinian Authority.