Hamas rejects PA’s call for Palestinian local elections set for December

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

Palestinian militant group Hamas said Wednesday it would not participate in municipal elections set by the Palestinian Authority for December unless a general election is also called.

Hamas is a long-standing rival of the PA, based in the occupied West Bank, and had supported the decision to hold Palestinian legislative and presidential elections in May and July.

But president Mahmud Abbas in April indefinitely postponed those votes, which would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Abbas cited Israel’s refusal to guarantee voting in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital.

But Palestinian experts said Abbas balked out of fear that Hamas would sweep the polls, in a repeat of 2006 results that the president’s Fatah movement did not accept.

Hamas, which was furious by Abbas’s general election postponement, said Wednesday that it “would not be part of... fragmented municipal elections.”

“The right solution is to hold comprehensive elections” for the Palestinian presidency, Palestinian legislative council, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), municipal bodies and trade and student unions, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told reporters.

Those votes could happen “simultaneously or according to a nationally agreed timetable,” he said.

“If that is plan, we are ready to participate.”

The municipal elections called by the PA would take place in 387 localities throughout the West Bank and Gaza on December 11, and then in 90 other places at a later date that has yet to be set.

Of the 477 voting sites, just 11 were in Gaza.

Hamas’s rejection of the process would make voting impossible in Gaza, an Israeli-blockaded territory controlled by the Islamists since 2007.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union but is seeking to bolster its legitimacy through election wins and by joining the PLO, a group of Palestinians factions recognized by Israel and the international community.

Read more:

Mahmoud Abbas won’t be the only candidate in upcoming Palestinian elections: Dahlan

Palestinians blame Israel as parliamentary, presidential elections delayed

Palestinian leader delays first elections in 15 years, Hamas rejects delay as 'coup'

Top Content Trending