The head of the Hamas slate of candidates for next month’s scheduled Palestinian election, Khalil al-Hayya, says that any postponement, however small, would undermine efforts to restore unity.
“A postponement would push the Palestinian people into the unknown, and I warn that this will complicate the situation, perpetuate and reinforce the division,” Hayya tells AFP.
“This would cause great frustration among the population and young people, and could lead to serious reactions,” says Hayya, the second most powerful Hamas leader in Gaza after political chief Yahya Sinwar.
Abbas called a parliamentary election across the Palestinian territories for May 22, to be followed by a presidential election on July 31, saying that it was the fruit of a reconciliation deal struck with Hamas last September after a decade of false starts.
But with his once-dominant Fatah movement under challenge from breakaway factions as well as Gaza’s ruling Islamists, there has been mounting speculation the 86-year-old president may yet again postpone the twin polls originally scheduled for 2010.