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Hamas rejects elections before end of internal split

Image of the Palestinian parliament in session [Apaimages]
Image of the Palestinian parliament in session [Apaimages]

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – has rejected the proposal to hold local elections before reconciliation has been achieved to end the internal political split, Al-Risalah reported on Tuesday. The movement claimed that setting a date for the elections actually serves the interests of its main rival, Fatah.

"The decision to hold the elections was made to meet the interests of the Ramallah-based government run by Fatah at the expense of Palestinian interests and the unity of the Palestinian institutions," explained Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. He stressed that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah "serves" the agenda of Fatah and not the interests of all Palestinians.

"This decision has been made on the ruins of the election process," said Barhoum, "which was destroyed by Fatah when it cancelled the due elections and backed-off from what was agreed upon between the Palestinian factions."

The Hamas official said that any future elections must be part of a Palestinian reconciliation, otherwise they will be "useless". He reiterated that the position adopted by Hamas is based on "bitter" previous experience with the government in Ramallah and the leadership of Fatah.

Early on Tuesday, the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank announced that municipal elections will be held across the occupied territories on 13 May.

Hamas agreed to a similar announcement last year, but a couple of days before the elections, the government cancelled them, citing what critics called "illogical" reasons. The Islamic movement feels that it does not have any guarantees that this will not happen again.

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