Palestinian president confirms Palestinian vote to be postponed
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Jan.24, will be postponed, confirming that he has accepted advice not to hold the vote, Reuters reported.
Abbas, speaking to BBC Arabic, said the Palestinian leadership would take measures to avoid a constitutional vacuum -- although he did not spell these out -- when the term of the current legislature and his term as president expire on Jan. 25.
Abbas also said he would not seek a second term as president. He had previously said he had no desire to run in the elections which had been scheduled for Jan. 24.
Abbas reiterated his demand for a halt to Israeli settlement before any resumption of talks. "I said that the Israeli government does not want peace. The American government has not done enough for the sake of peace," he added.
The Central Election Commission announced last week it had advised Abbas to put off the election because Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip where some 1.5 million Palestinians live, had warned it would not allow them to vote.
Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. The Islamist group disputes Abbas's legitimacy.
"Now for a realistic reason, due to certain conditions -- because of the rejection of Hamas and its threat to prevent (voting) by force, naturally they will be delayed, or the time of the elections will come later," Abbas said.
In October, Hamas refused to sign the Egyptian proposal, which aims to promote reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.