GAZA, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Islamist movement Hamas said on Wednesday Palestinians in the Gaza Strip must not take part in elections scheduled for January by President Mahmoud Abbas or face persecution.
On Friday, the Palestinian National Authority leader, who heads the rival Fatah party controlling the West Bank, signed a decree to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in three months for Palestinian residents of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. He accused Hamas of delaying the signing of an Egypt-mediated reconciliation deal which would have set the ballots for June 28, 2010.
Hamas said Abbas's call for the elections was illegal as it had not been agreed upon with the group, and the president's term formally expired in January 2009.
In early September, Cairo put forward a document to reconcile the two largest Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Hamas took control of Gaza and pushed Fatah out of the enclave in teh summer of 2007.
The document envisions general elections to be held in Gaza and the West Bank, a reform of the Palestinian security services under Egyptian control and the release of political prisoners by both factions.