Hamas believes that elections simply cannot be held on schedule on 25 January 2010, sources in the movement in the West Bank told Ma’an on Sunday.
The sources stated several reasons for why the poll cannot be held on time. First, they said, both Hamas and Fatah are not ready for elections. Logistical arrangements have not been made; the public is not yet ready for elections. Safeguards of public freedoms have yet to be put in place and political arrests are ongoing. Election registers are yet to be prepared. Finally, in Hamas’ view, the split with Fatah must come to an end as a prerequisite to hold elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas sources asserted that if Palestinian factions and political parties agree on postponing the elections, this could still be done in a legal way, especially if it is done through the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
In this regard, analysts told Ma’an that there are indications of a possible agreement between factions represented in the PLC to postpone the elections. They said only factions that to not hold seats in the PLC may still oppose postponement. Analysts also pointed out that the Palestinian Basic Law does not allow the president to issue a decree to postpone elections. According to the Basic Law, the president must issue a decree to prepare for elections 90 days in advance.
Hamas’ push for postponement puts it at odds with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, which wants the elections to take place as scheduled. Egypt, which is trying to mediate a unity deal between the factions, has also suggested that the elections could take place in the first half of 2010, not necessarily in January.