New government ‘unlikely to form on schedule’ 26Feb12 February 26, 2012

Ma’an News Agency  -  25 February 2012

CAIRO (Ma’an) — Formation of an interim Palestinian government will begin after the central election commission starts to update the electoral register in the Palestinian territory, an official said Friday.

Member of the PLO executive committee Wasil Abu Yousif said the election commission needed two to three weeks to update the electoral register, especially in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Yousif told Ma’an that “Hamas promised during the latest cross-factional meeting in Cairo to cooperate with the central election commission as much as possible in order to complete its work.”

According to the Palestinian basic law, a presidential decree must be issued to set a date for elections three months in advance, which means the vote will not take place May 4 as scheduled.

Abu Yousif said delegates in Cairo reiterated that negotiations with Israel would not be resumed unless settlement activities stop in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

Furthermore, there must be clear terms of reference based on international law, and an independent Palestinian state should be established on the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967.

However, as soon as President Mahmoud Abbas returns to Ramallah, the Palestinian side will start sending messages to the Israeli government and to international entities, he said.

Separately, Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad told reporters that Hamas was responsible for the delay in announcing the government. “There is disagreement within Hamas on the structure of the new government.

“Everybody requested announcing the government as soon as possible, except Hamas who requested a delay. Since the president is aware of what is going on within Hamas, he agreed on a delay.”

Al-Ahmad pointed out that some of Hamas’ leaders in the Gaza Strip disagreed with what was agreed on in Doha between Abbas and Khalid Mashaal of Hamas.

“Hamas has preconditions, and Mashaal obviously preferred not to tell us about these preconditions because he knew they were not objective.

“He preferred to ask for a delay hoping that reluctant Hamas leaders could change their minds.”

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