Ma'an News Agency
February 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Now that leftist Palestinian factions have a court mandate forcing the government in Ramallah hold elections, Fatah and Hamas are back to bickering about how the vote might be held.

Muhammad Al-Madani, member of the ruling Fatah’s main body, told Ma’an Tuesday evening that the Palestinian leadership planned to hold local elections in the summer and general elections by September.

The plan is to carry out local elections in stages with the final stage in the Gaza Strip but Hamas, which is in control of the coastal enclave, refuses this plan dubbing it “a comedy” since Israel insists not to make any concessions.

Saying the Palestinian Authority is adamant about holding local elections this year on July 17, Al-Madani says there are several suggestions including amendments to the basic law due to the dispute between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip governments.

“It is the elections committee who will decide whether or not to hold elections in case Hamas oppose them,” he said.

Al-Madani highlighted that the PA would meet in Ramallah Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“The situation in Palestine can’t remain subordinate to Hamas' whim.”

Hamas leaders asserted opposition to holding local elections this year describing that as abandonment of Palestinian national interests and belittlement of the Palestinian people and forces.

“It is impossible for Hamas to hold elections in Gaza before [a reconciliation] agreement is reached, and the move by the PA is a comedy in light of Israel’s stubbornness and refusal to make any concessions to the PA,” said Hamas leader and former Palestinian minister of prisoners’ affairs Wasfi Qabaha.

“It is unbelievable to hold elections while disagreement continues, and those who take this step do not want reconciliation. They want to monopolize the West Bank. Elections under disagreement support only partiality and sectarianism,” he explained.

The Jerusalem-based Fatah leader Hatim Abdul-Qadir said his movement reevaluated all the gaps in the delayed local elections in which both clans and political factions were determinants.

He explained that new eligibility standards were suggested to separate between factions and clans and to support the best candidates regardless of their clan or factional affiliation.

However, the Fatah leader thinks local elections could be carried out in three stages starting in parts of the West Bank. As for general elections, he ruled out the possibility of holding them without Gaza “because disagreement with Hamas is all about elections.”

Abdul-Qadir says he is worried Hamas might carry out general elections in Gaza and elect its own president and parliament.


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