Palestinian factions upset at decision to postpone local elections
Palestinian factions expressed opposition Tuesday to a decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone municipal elections originally planned for October, DPA reported.
Abbas said in the order, issued Monday, that elections will be delayed "until conditions are right" to hold them in all the Palestinian territories.
It makes it the third time the municipal poll has been postponed, mainly because of the division between the West Bank, which is run by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Gaza Strip, controlled since June 2007 by the Islamist Hamas movement.
Abbas' Fatah party, which dominates the PA, and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement in May, but three months later, the deal still has to be fully implemented.
Zahira Kamal, head of Fida, one of the Palestinian factions, criticized the postponement decision, describing it as illegal.
She said the Palestinian Supreme Court had already called on the government to hold local elections, which forced it to set October 22 as the date for holding them.
However, as reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas have failed to reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hamas was still adamant in its opposition to holding them in the salient.
It was first decided to hold the elections in the West Bank alone, but apparently Abbas decided that since time was not ripe to hold them in both areas, he decided to indefinitely postpone the vote altogether.
Fatah and Hamas are expected to resume talks in September towards ending their differences, but disagreement on who would run the new national unity government remains the major obstacle in implementing the reconciliation deal.