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Fatah official: Hamas requested elections delay

Aug. 24, 2011 12:03 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 25, 2011 1:52 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah central committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul on Tuesday said Hamas requested the postponement of local elections.

In a statement, Al-Aloul said a delegation representing Hamas requested that the vote be postponed until reconciliation with Fatah was finalized.

President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Monday postponing local West Bank elections, scheduled for Oct. 22, "until appropriate circumstances" exist.

The October vote was planned to take place in the West Bank and the elections commission said Hamas had blocked efforts to organize elections in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Fatah signed a surprise unity agreement in early May ending years of bitter rivalry but the deal has yet to be implemented.

President Mahmoud Abbas decided to postpone elections "in order to provide more positive atmosphere for reconciliation," Al-Aloul said.

He added that the president asked Fatah leader Azzam Al-Ahmad to consult Palestinian factions over the delay.

"Several national factions understood the situation, and accepted the justifications for postponement," he said.

But the Palestinian Democratic Union, Fida, on Tuesday urged Abbas to retract his decree and accused Hamas and Fatah of "monopolizing

decision-making and ignoring Palestinian law and consensus."

"It is evident the decision was based on a bilateral agreement between Fatah and Hamas," Fida said in a statement.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine lawmaker Qays Abdul-Karim also slammed the delay, and said the decision was "illegal."

Abdul-Karim added that elections shouldn't be dependent on national reconciliation because it was evident that a deal between Hamas and Fatah was far from being implemented.

People should also not be deprived of their democratic rights under the pretext of a disagreement, he added.

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