Hamas, Fatah Admit May Elections Highly Unlikely

Senior officials in Ramallah and Gaza City admit that the May elections will probably be cancelled as unity has not materialized.

Gabe Kahn. ,

Fatah-Hamas Unity Rally
Fatah-Hamas Unity Rally
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

Officials in Gaza City and Ramallah confirmed reports that the Palestinian Authority would likely cancel elections scheduled for May which began to circulate earlier this week

Fatah leader Thiab al-Loh told the Ma’an News Agency on Thursday 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 must be complete before PA chairman Abbas can issue a date for elections, al-Loh added.

Hamas official Ismail Radwan said "the pre-date is nearing.... elections cannot be held under two governments as the national unity government has not been formed."

PFLP terror leader Jamil Mizher said that the scheduled May date for elections will be impossible due to both Fatah and Hamas stalling the implementation of a reconciliation agreement the two groups signed.

"Holding elections needs a presidential decree, and logistical and administrative preparations which are not possible in light of stalled reconciliation measures," he said.

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 materialize.

A much ballyhooed announcement by the two sides that Hamas would be inducted into the PLO has also failed to bear fruit.

Abbas' term as PA chairman ended two years ago, but he has refused to hold new elections thus far. With Hamas surging in the polls, analysts say, Fatah might lose control of its enclaves in Judea and Samaria.

Nor does Abbas, who has pledged not to run again, want a situation in which his successor does not come from his own party.