Palestine declines Israel’s request to delay elections

Ramallah: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected an Israeli request to postpone the Palestinian elections, a senior Hamas leader said.

“Abbas rejected a request by the Zionist entity (Israel) to postpone the polls,” Moussa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, told the local Alam Radio. “We oppose any delay of the elections,” he said.

There was no comment from either the Palestinian Authority or Israel on the claim.

Abu Marzouk, however, did not rule out postponing the vote amid a split in Abbas’ Fatah movement.

Last week, Fatah sacked Nasser al-Qudwa, a nephew of late President Yasser Arafat, for planning to run in the upcoming elections on a separate list.

Detained Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti also unveiled his intention to run in the presidential elections on July 31.

Palestinian factions are set to meet in Cairo on Monday to discuss preparations of the upcoming polls.

In January, Abbas issued a decree to hold legislative elections on May 22, presidential polls on July 31 and the National Council elections on August 31.

The last legislative elections, in which Hamas won a majority, were held in 2006.

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