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Hamas warns against postponing Palestine elections

Deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khalil Al-Hayya yesterday warned against postponing the Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for 22 May, saying it would push the Palestinian people into the unknown.

Al-Hayya, who heads the movement’s list in the elections, said the postponement “will generate great frustration among the masses and youth”, warning that “the postponement will complicate the situation and perpetuate division”.

In January, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the elections will be held in May followed by Presidential elections in July.

Earlier this week, the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre published the results of a poll which showed that 79 per cent of Palestinians consider holding these elections important.

On Tuesday, Abbas’ senior adviser, Nabil Shaath, said the upcoming Palestinian national elections are “very likely” to be postponed if Israel does not allow voting in occupied East Jerusalem.

He told An-Nahar newspaper that if Israel continues to ignore the PA’s request to hold the elections in East Jerusalem, “the electoral process will be postponed.”

Israel has carried out an arrest campaign against those taking part in elections activities in occupied Jerusalem. Analysts believe occupation forces will not allow balloting to take place in the area as Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital and does not allow PA activities in the city.

However, many believe the PA is using this as an excuse because recent polls show that Hamas would, once again, win the election leaving President Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement, in a difficult predicament.

Abbas refused to step down following Palestine’s last election in 2006 when Hamas was elected to power. The move caused disunity among Palestinians and led to Fatah heading the government in the occupied West Bank and Hamas governing the besieged Gaza Strip.