Ma'an News Agency
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Hamas-controlled Ministry of the Interior announced on Wednesday that it will not allow elections to go ahead in the Gaza Strip as decreed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The call for elections "came from someone who does not have the right to declare it," a ministry statement said in reference to Abbas. The ministry reiterated Hamas’ objection that the elections were called without a national unity agreement in place.

The statement said furthermore that the ministry will "bring to account anyone who deals with these elections."

Last Friday Abbas issued a decree calling presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 January 2010.

Hamas argues that elections can only take place in the context of a national agreement that reunites the West Bank and Gaza under one administration.

Wednesday's announcement by the de facto government in Gaza could mean that Abbas will be forced to hold elections only in the West Bank, where his Fatah movement is in control. The current right-leaning government in Israel is also thought to be opposed to allowing elections in East Jerusalem, which is under direct Israeli rule.

Earlier this week, two human rights groups urged the rival Palestinian factions to reach a unity deal as a prerequisite to elections.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said elections "are not possible without reaching a comprehensive national reconciliation that can end fragmentation and restore the dignity of the legislative, executive and judicial institutions of the Palestinian government."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017