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Iran Press TV

Top Hamas official warns against delaying Palestinian elections

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 22 April 2021 2:38 PM

A top Hamas official has warned that any change to the timetable for the long-awaited Palestinian elections next month would deal a heavy blow to efforts to reconcile the rival administrations in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli occupied West Bank.

Khalil al-Hayya, the head of the Hamas list for next month's elections, said in an interview on Thursday that any postponement, however small, would undermine efforts to restore unity.

"A postponement would push the Palestinian people into the unknown, and I warn that this will complicate the situation, perpetuate and reinforce the division," Hayya was quoted as saying.

"This would cause great frustration among the population and young people, and could lead to serious reactions," he added.

Hayya further said Hamas does not seek to lead the next Palestinian government, but rather to participate in a unity administration.

"We want a government of national consensus," he said. "If it carries a reasonable and acceptable political program, it can be a real opportunity to end the division, unify the institutions and end the (Israeli) blockade and Palestinian suffering."

In January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the 2021 elections would include Legislative Council polls on May 22, the presidential vote on July 31 and the National Council elections slated for August 31.

The vote is part of a collective effort by Palestinian factions, including the two major parties of Fatah and Hamas, to boost support for Palestinian governance.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006. Back then, Hamas scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Hamas has ever since been running the densely-populated coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts of the West Bank.

Fatah and Hamas have reached an agreement for the voting to take place in the West Bank and Gaza. But it remains to be seen whether the Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds would be able to vote. Palestinian leaders want the voting to be held in the east, the area where they see as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

There has been mounting speculation that the 86-year-old president may yet again postpone the twin polls. A senior adviser to President Abbas said Tuesday that the upcoming Palestinian national elections are "very likely" to be postponed if Israel does not allow voting in East Jerusalem al-Ques.

Palestinian factions have announced a unified stance against attempts by Israel, the United States and some Arab countries to undermine the Palestinian cause.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi recently expressed shared concerns about the potential victory of Hamas.

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