Hamas: Elections are national right

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The official spokesman of Hamas Movement Hazem Kasem affirmed on Saturday that elections are a right of the Palestinian people to select their representatives at the presidential, legislative and municipal levels.

Kasem said in a press interview that his Movement’s rejection of the municipal elections came after a failed attempt to hold the elections in September 2016 and due to the existing political division. Ramallah government’s interference in the work of institutions that are not political such as the High Court of Justice is another reason for Hamas’s rejectionist position, he added.

Kasem pointed out that establishing a court for elections away from the competent authorities such as the Legislative Council is illegal. Besides, the court was intended to be established apart from national consensus and without consulting Hamas, which contradicts reconciliation agreements which stressed that all matters relating to the elections process must be done unanimously.

In response to statements by Wasel Abu Yusuf, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Front, in which he said that Hamas “vetoed” holding elections in the Gaza Strip, Kasem stated that the “veto” was imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which interfered in the elections, and Ramallah government headed by Rami Hamdallah which forced the High Court of Justice to postpone elections last time.

Kasem added, “In Beirut we agreed that our people have the right to elect at all levels, and we agreed on forming a national unity government to oversee the elections.”

He stressed that real elections can only be held after unifying authorities and institutions, and noted that as long as division is still there, the PA will keep manipulating the law and judicial institutions as what happened before.

Hamas’s spokesman emphasized that his Movement had agreed on holding elections last year, despite the fact that it was not consulted on the issue, in order for elections to be a gateway to ending the division and enhancing trust among the Palestinian people and factions, but it turned out to be a failed attempt.

Replying to the question: “Will Hamas prevent holding elections in Gaza or it only will not take part in it?”, Kasem said, “I assure you once again that elections are a right of the Palestinian people, and what we seek is holding elections in both Gaza and the West Bank under complete national consensus after ending the division.”

(Source / 05.02.2017)

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