The Palestinian Authority Central Elections Committee will recommend postponing the presidential election set for January 24, a Fatah official said on Thursday.
Election Commission chairman Hanna Nasser said it would be impossible to conduct the vote in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Without participation by all Palestinians, asserted officials, the election should not take place.
Hamas announced already in late October that it would not allow the elections committee to start preparations in the Gaza Strip for holding new presidential and parliamentary elections.
At the time, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior threatened to punish any Palestinian who participated in the elections or helped Abbas's elections committee in the Gaza Strip. The ministry said that Hamas was opposed to holding any elections before a "reconciliation" agreement was reached with Fatah.
It pointed out that Abbas did not have the authority to issue a "presidential decree" calling for new elections.
On Wednesday, however, Abbas said that he was still interested in patching up his differences with Hamas.
"We want reconciliation and we want to reunite our people and homeland," he said during a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death. "Hamas exists and it will stay. Hamas came through elections and now we are offering Hamas elections once again."
Referring to his decision last week not to run for another term in a new election, Abbas said: "I don't want to talk again about my desire not to run in the election. But I want to say that there are other options that I will take in accordance with the developments."
If Abbas agrees to postpone the vote, he could remain in office indefinitely.
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