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Palestinian factions in Syria reject election call

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday December 13, 2006

Damascus- Damascus-based Palestinian factions unanimously rejected Wednesday the Palestinian president's call for early presidential and legislative elections, warning that it would further deepen the current political crisis in the Palestinian Territories. A statement issued by the factions following a meeting in Damascus urged the formation of a national unity government and said that elections "would create excessive tensions and divisions in the Palestinian arena."

Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and the Islamic militant Hamas have been locked in a power struggle since Hamas ousted Fatah in parliamentary elections early this year.

Seeking to end the standoff, Abbas has been trying to persuade Hamas to join Fatah in a national unity government. Talks however broke down late last month, and tensions heightened after Abbas announced plans over the weekend to call early elections, drawing Hamas accusations that he is plotting a coup.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, told journalists following the meeting that political differences between the Palestinian factions was to blame for the deteriorating security situation in the Territories.

The "call for early elections is a coup against democracy and legitimacy," he said. Marzouk also urged the resumption of dialogue "without foreign interference," and urged Fatah not to succumb to pressures.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency