Palestinian leader decides to delay election
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has decided to delay parliamentary elections by several months.
Abbas, who made the announcement in Ramallah, did not give a new date for the election, which had been scheduled for July 17. Earlier, the official Al Ayyam daily reported on its front page that a senior official said the date would likely be pushed back to November from the current July 17 schedule.
The delay would enable Abbas to take steps to strengthen the ruling Fatah party against its main rival Hamas. The official reason for the delay was technical.
Hamas officials blamed Abbas of stonewalling because of disorganization within his party. "This decision was taken unilaterally without any consultation with the Palestinian factions, and it came as a response for the conditions and the atmosphere of the Fatah movement and not for any national consideration," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip.