Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has served as chairman of the PA two years beyond his term, now has delayed local elections for third time and without setting a new date.
According to the PA constitution, Abbas’s term ended two years ago, and Hamas has latched on to the lack of a new vote as just cause for considering the Ramallah-based PA illegitimate.
Hamas threw Fatah out of Gaza four years ago in a bloody terrorist militia coup, a year after the Iranian-funded and Syria-based terrorist organization won a majority in the PA legislature’s first and only elections, startling the United States, which had encouraged and even supervised the vote.
The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had trumpeted the elections as heralding a new age of democracy in the Muslim world.
That "new age" still is in the future, possibly a far distant future.
Abbas originally scheduled municipal elections in July of last year, but Hamas said it would boycott the vote in Gaza. Holding a ballot without Gaza would explode the whole theory of a Palestinian Authority that can govern itself.
The elections were postponed until July 9 and then again to October.
Abbas said Monday night, "We have decided to postpone the local elections until better conditions are available and to enable the election commission to work in all parts of the country," the Associated Press reported.
Attempts by Hamas and Fatah leaders to reach a unity have failed despite public pledges of an accord earlier this year.
Polls have shown that Fatah would defeat Hamas, but Abbas is losing popularity as he fails to meet expectations he has raised that the PA will become an independent state without compromising any of its demands, including sovereignty over the Temple Mount and other areas of northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem.