Palestinian politicians doubt elections will take place 27Jan12 January 27, 2012

Ma’an News Agency  -  26 January 2012

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Several Palestinian officials expressed doubt on Wednesday that elections scheduled for May would take place.

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Ma’an that “the pre-date is nearing…. elections can not be held under two governments as the national unity government has not been formed.”

“Occupation may be a reason, but we have to overcome any obstacles that may be preventing elections,” he added.

Fatah leader Thiab al-Loh told Ma’an that elections need to be prepared for in advance and at the moment “we are at the beginning….now we are not ready.”

The delay in forming a unity government is a major obstacle to elections, he said.

The work of the Central Elections Committee is vital in recommending a suitable time for President Abbas to issue a date for elections, al-Loh added.

PFLP leader Jamil Mizher said that the scheduled May date for elections will be impossible, as parties are stalling and the reconciliation agreement has not been implemented.

“Holding elections needs a presidential decree, and logistical and administrative preparations which are not possible in light of stalled reconciliation measures,” he told Ma’an.

Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections within a year in their reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo in May 2011.

Factions also agreed to form an interim government of technocrats to oversee preparations for the vote, but the administration has yet to be established and the West Bank and Gaza remain divided under rival governments.

Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas met with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Cairo in November to try and revive the stalled process of reconciliation.

The party leaders pledged their commitment to unity and several committees were formed to implement the reconciliation agreement, but the parties continue to spar over key tenets of the deal.

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