Masked Hamas officials press conference Gaza 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas on Wednesday rejected plans by the Palestinian Authority to hold municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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“Talk of holding elections in light of divisions [between Hamas and Fatah] and without agreement is null and void, and the results won’t be accepted,” Hamas said in a statement. “Suppression of freedoms by the Palestinian security forces, which collaborates with the occupation in the West Bank, doesn’t create a proper atmosphere for holding fair elections.”
Hamas added that it would boycott the planned elections.
The Hamas announcement was a response to the PA government’s declaration on Tuesday that it was considering holding local elections.
Municipal elections were originally supposed to take place in June 2010, but were called off by the PA leadership at the last minute.
Recently the PA’s High Court of Justice ruled that the decision to call off the municipal elections was illegal, and instructed the PA government to set a date for the vote.
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Then, too, Hamas threatened to boycott the election.
In its statement on Wednesday, Hamas claimed that talk of holding municipal elections was an attempt on the part of the PA leadership to divert attention from the “Palestine Papers” that were recently exposed by the Al-Jazeera TV network.
Alarmed by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, PA officials have, in the past few days, talked about the possibility of holding presidential, legislative and municipal elections in the coming months.
Hamas, meanwhile, announced that PA security forces had arrested 289 of the Islamist movement’s supporters in the West Bank in January.
An additional 750 Hamas supporters were summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces, Hamas said.
Among those arrested were five university lecturers, 32 students, 33 school teachers, eight mayors and municipal council members, three engineers, three journalists and a lawyer.
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