Hamas says a decision by the Palestinian Authority to postpone local elections shows widening internal gaps in the Fatah party over a unified list of candidates.
The reaction came after the cabinet, which is dominated by Fatah members, decided to delay the elections scheduled for July 17 without setting a new date for the vote.
The decision was the result of "internal conflicts in Fatah over the process and the lists of candidates and had nothing to do with national considerations," Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said on Thursday.
"No matter when these elections take place they will lack legitimacy," AFP quoted Zuhri as saying.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has refused to recognize the authority of acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas since his four-year term expired in January 2009.
Other Palestinian groups have also criticized the Fatah party over the Thursday decision.
It harmed "the democratic process and the higher national interest," said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
"There was no justification for postponing these elections, and it is unacceptable that any political power would impose its own calculations on the national interest," PFLP Deputy Head Abdelrahim Malluh said.
The Palestinian People’s Party also dismissed the decision, calling it a "huge mistake."