Hamas rejects Abbas' call for immediate elections
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday urged the Islamic Hamas movement to accept immediate general elections to help reunite the Palestinians, a proposal promptly rejected by Hamas, reported Xinhua.
"We offer immediate presidential and parliamentary elections to end the issue of internal split. Those the people vote for would lead," Abbas told reporters.
Abbas' remarks, which came a day after rival Fatah and Hamas decided to postpone the inter-reconciliation dialogue until Aug. 25, seemed to be a new proposal to maintain the dialogue from collapse.
"Holding elections is the solution," said the Palestinian president who heads Fatah party, Hamas' bitter political rival holding sway in the West Bank.
In response, Hamas immediately rejected Abbas' call, saying that the elections issue was one of five files the Cairo dialogue needs to settle first.
"First, there must be an agreement on the five files which are the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the government, the security, the reconciliation and the elections," Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, told Xinhua.
Barhoum said that "Abu Mazen (Abbas) should firstly provide a suitable atmosphere for holding the elections instead of uprooting Hamas in the West Bank."
He also accused Abbas and his Fatah movement "of obstructing understanding on all of the five issues."
The Egyptian-brokered dialogue between Hamas and Fatah has failed so far to come up with an agreement to restore political unity to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-ruled West Bank.
Since the beginning of the Cairo-hosted talks, Hamas and Fatah have talked on forming a transitional unity government until holding the elections in January 2010.