GAZA CITY, Palestine
Palestinian group Fatah of President Mahmoud Abbas has accused rival Hamas movement of attempting to undermine next month’s local election in the Gaza Strip.
"Hamas is seeking to derail the local polls in order to evade the outcomes of the democratic process," Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eita told reporters on Wednesday.
He said Hamas has challenged all Fatah electoral lists with the election commission.
“Hamas did that because it does not believe in partnership and is afraid of the election results,” he claimed.
The local election is scheduled to take place in the Gaza Strip and Israel-occupied West Bank in October.
The spokesman said that the electoral commission has excluded four Fatah lists from the polls after Hamas appeals, describing the move as a “collective punishment”.
Last week, the electoral commission said it has accepted six appeals out of 163 requests against electoral lists.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, for his part, denied the claims.
“Fatah accusations are insulting and aim to devoid the democratic process of its meaning,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Hamas has not officially announced which electoral lists it will support during the vote.
Hamas boycotted the last Palestinian municipal polls in 2012 due to ongoing differences between the Gaza-based group and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.
*Reporting by Ola Atallah; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg
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