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Hamas: Free and fair elections need unity

Feb. 16, 2011 4:40 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 17, 2011 1:06 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Deputized Parliament speaker and Hamas leader Ahmad Bahar said Wednesday that honest elections could not take place without a unity agreement that "restores the national rights of Palestinians."

The official reiterated the Hamas position in a conference address in Gaza City, calling elections the right of the Palestinians guaranteed under the Basic Law, but for the elections to be "carried out by a legitimate government."

Because the calling of elections must be backed by a presidential decree, Hamas says, there can be no legitimate elections, as Abbas' mandate ran out - by some accounts in 2009, and others in 2010 - and he is no longer accepted by the party as head of the Palestinian Authority.

Commenting on the resignation of the PA cabinet earlier in the week, and Abbas' reappointment of resigned Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and request for him to form a new government, Bahar said the move was "no more than a desperate attempt to absorb the anger of the Palestinians."
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