Hamas to boycott W. Bank elections

Islamist movements say elections "illegal," designed to favor Fatah.

Hamas press conference 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Hamas press conference 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hamas officials said on Monday that the Islamist movement will boycott the municipal elections that the Palestinian Authority is planning to hold in the West Bank in July.
They said that the elections were being held under the supervision of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s “unconstitutional government” which, they added, “has dissolved many of the elected municipal councils and relaxed them with appointed ones.”
“Hamas won’t recognize the results of the planned elections because they lack fairness and credibility,” the officials said, claiming that the vote was anyhow designed to help Fatah and supporters of the Oslo Accords.
According to Hamas, the vote is being held under the auspices of “politically-motivated” Fatah security forces that are practicing “security terror” against Palestinians.
They pointed out that the Fatah security forces in the West Bank have been silencing critics and political opponents and arresting and dismissing Palestinians from their jobs for political reasons.
Hamas also warned that holding the vote under the current circumstances would only deepen divisions among the Palestinians.
The Islamic Jihad also announced its intention to boycott the local elections, which are scheduled to be held on July 17.
It also claimed that the elections were designed to serve the political purposes of Fatah. The group accused the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank of pursuing its members and supporters by arresting them and dismissing them from their jobs.
The boycott means that the elections will be contested only by Fatah and independent candidates.
Hamas won a sweeping victory in the municipal elections that were held in December 2005, taking control of major cities such as Nablus, Jenin, Al-Bireh and Bethlehem.
The PA has decided that the upcoming elections will be held only in the West Bank because of the Hamas “coup” in the Gaza Strip.