The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has rejected the Palestinian Authority’s call to hold presidential and legislative elections before September.
"These elections are illegal because they are not determined by any law, and Hamas will not legitimize them," the Ma’an news agency quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum as saying on Saturday.
Barhoum said acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas and Caretaker PA Prime Minister Salam Feyadh lacked the legitimacy to declare elections.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, who leads the West Bank’s ruling Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the PA will "start preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections in the coming months… no later than September."
He also called on all parties to put aside their differences and participate in the elections, although an agreement on security and representation has yet to be reached.
Abbas, who has been the head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority since 2004, has refused to leave office despite the expiry of his mandate in 2009.
"Elections should be held in accordance with Palestinian national consensus, the result of a reconciliation agreement, not as a step taken by the one party which controls every Palestinian issue," Barhoum stated.
The Hamas official warned PA officials that they could suffer the same fate as the rulers of Egypt and Tunisia, who were ousted by popular revolutions.
Last week, the PA also announced that local elections would be held on July 9. It would be the first time Palestinians get an opportunity to cast ballots since 2006.
Hamas was swept to power after a landslide victory in the legislative election of 2006.
However, the resistance movement had to limit its rule to the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after a coup attempt by their Western-backed rivals in the Fatah party, which established its own rule in the West Bank.