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Hamas curiously awaits elections in Egypt

June 10, 2012 2:34 P.M. (Updated: June 11, 2012 1:14 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- As Egypt prepares for a run-off presidential contest this week, Hamas is banking on the success of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi, experts say.

Gaza political analyst Mukheimar Abu Saada said that a Mursi victory against former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq will be put to good use by Hamas.

"Hamas will use Mursi to try and impose its stipulations regarding the upcoming unity government, and if he does not win, Hamas will be in a weaker position," Abu Saada told Ma'an.

Hamas and Fatah are slated to announce a unity cabinet on June 20 to end five years of division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef said the meeting between party leaders to finalize the government members had deliberately been pushed back to after the Egypt vote on June 16 and 17.

He vowed that the party would do its best to make the new government succeed, despite the delay. But Yousef also indicated the party views a win for Mursi as bolstering its own political position.

"We are mainly interested in stability in Egypt regardless of who takes power, yet Mursi will be helpful for us and for the Palestinian people," Yousef said.

A Muslim Brotherhood electoral success in Egypt will turn everyone's attention to presidential elections in Palestine, he said, adding "the Islamists have become the choice during the present era."

Gaza analyst Mustafa al-Sawwaf told Ma'an that the vote in Egypt will not impact the composition of a new Palestinian government, which will be decided by Palestinians themselves.

However, he added, the election results could determine whether there will be a unity government or not, implying a boost to one party in the talks may undermine the fragile consensus to form a joint cabinet.
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