Hamas: Elections a result, not condition, of reconciliation
Published Thursday 16/08/2012 (updated) 26/08/2012 11:29
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Thursday insisted that it supports elections, but that reconciliation must come first.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticized recent remarks by President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said there would be no reconciliation without elections.
"These statements are a coup on the reconciliation deal which makes elections a fruit of reconciliation and not a condition for it," Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
Hamas supports holding elections, but all the basic files of the reconciliation deal must be implemented first, including an interim leadership framework, PLO elections and a national unity government, Abu Zuhri said.
"Practically, elections cannot be held at a time of security and political detentions of Hamas members in the West Bank and the lack of the necessary atmosphere to ensure the integrity of elections," he added.
In July, Hamas canceled voter registration in Gaza a day before the process was due to begin, citing a lack of public freedoms in the West Bank as an obstacle to free and fair elections, among other complaints.
Abbas' Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority announced on July 10 that it would hold elections on Oct. 20, a decision denounced by Hamas as a "unilateral step" that undermined reconciliation.