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Palestinian Officials Accuse Hamas of Obstructing Elections

Palestinian Officials Accuse Hamas of Obstructing Elections

Tuesday, 20 October, 2020 - 09:45
People hold a candlelight vigil for Maher al-Akhras, a Palestinian on hunger strike in Israeli jail. (EPA)

The Hamas movement seems to have an internal problem that is preventing it from completing the internal reconciliation process, said a Palestinian official.


Member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee Saleh Raafat confirmed that the movement, which runs the coastal Gaza Strip, has not yet officially replied to a proposal to hold general elections throughout Palestinian territories.


He hoped that Hamas would agree to holding the polls so that President Mahmoud Abbas would issue a decree setting the date for the elections in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.


“Hamas has new demands on the reconciliation issue, elections and employees, which the government has been working on equally between the West Bank and Gaza,” he was quoted as saying by the official news agency (WAFA).


“It is obvious that Hamas has a problem with the reconciliation and the elections,” he continued.


Raafat’s remarks explain why Abbas has delayed his presidential decree even though both Fatah and Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions announced their agreement to hold the elections.


Fatah and Hamas had agreed in Istanbul in September to first hold the general elections, then presidential polls, followed by the election of the PLO national council. All elections are supposed to be held within six months.


Fatah central committee member Rawhi Fattouh said the members have unanimously agreed on the outcomes of the Istanbul meeting and are awaiting the approval of the Hamas politburo.


All of the outstanding issues will be resolved after the elections, he stressed, noting that the delay does not serve the interest of any party.


He speculated that some official in Gaza were opposed to the reconciliation, hinting that the elections may be obstructed for personal gain.


The last Palestinian general elections were held in 2006.


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