Hamas says no decision yet on ‘form of participation’ in polls

Palestine starts technical meetings over preparations for polls (credit: www.elections.ps)

Gaza, (Samajweekly) The Islamic Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, said that it was yet to decide on the “form of participation” in the upcoming general elections.

“It is too early to talk about the form of Hamas’ participation in the upcoming elections,” Xinhua news agency quoted Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas political bureau, as saying at a press briefing here on Wednesday.

“Participating in the legislative and presidential elections depends on what we agree on in the Cairo dialogues,” al-Hayya said, adding that there are probably “multiple options” for the form of Hamas’ participation in the elections.

But al-Hayya said no one is allowed to step back from the elections.

He said that his movement wants to move forward until the end of the election process.

“The Hamas movement wants all factions to be involved in the elections,” he added.

Leaders of 14 Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah movement, will start a comprehensive national dialogue in Cairo on February 8.

The dialogue aims to reach agreement on the mechanism of holding the general elections in the Palestinian territories.

On January 15, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree setting specific dates for holding the legislative and presidential elections, in addition to a vote for the Palestinian National Council.

Under the decree, legislative elections will be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on August 31.

The last legislative elections were held in the Palestinian territories in late 2006 when the Hamas movement won a majority.

Abbas was elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.