Hamas says to vie in elections underneath unity gov’t

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian group Hamas said Saturday it was ready to take part in presidential and legislative elections under the supervision of a national unity government. 

On Friday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh met with election commission head Hanna Nasser to discuss proposals for holding the Palestinian elections.  

“Hamas told Nasser of the group’s agreement to participate in presidential and legislative elections, to be supervised by a national unity government,” spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanoua told Anadolu Agency.  

He said Hamas also suggested holding elections of the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  

“Hamas is also ready to implement the 2011 reconciliation agreement,” he said, adding that his group was “open to all solutions that serve the Palestinian people.”  

In December, President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Constitutional Court had dissolved the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament) and had called for legislative polls to be held — throughout the Palestinian territories — within six months.  

Hamas, however, has challenged the legitimacy of the alleged court ruling, saying it was illegal and influenced by Abbas.  

Hamas and Fatah have remained at odds since the former seized the Gaza Strip from the latter in mid-2007 after several days of street fighting.  

In 2017, the two factions signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in hopes of ending years of animosity and division.  

Terms of the agreement, however, have never been implemented amid deep-seated differences between the two movements. 

Writing by Ali H. M.Abo Rezeg