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Gaza: Hamas Enters Into Parliamentary Race

PNA Welcomes Hamas's Move to Enter Parliamentary Race

GAZA, Palestine, March 13, 2005 (IPC) ----The Palestinian National Authority welcomed Islamic resistance movement (Hamas) decision to take part for the first time in the upcoming parliamentary election on 17July.

The president Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday the entry of Hamas into the election race was a "good step" but "not really a surprise" since the Hamas had taken part in the local elections.
He added that we called all the Palestinian faction even the independent figures and institutions to take part in the political, social and humanitarian walks.

On his part, the spokesperson of the Palestinian national authority Nabil Abu rudenh said that such a move will boost the Palestinian unity and hoped all the political streams run the elections.

Nabil Sha'th, deputy of the prime minister and information minister viewed Hamas decision as positive pointing out that such a move will make the movement more legible to be involved into the PLO executive committee and the Palestinian government

Sha'th added that the decision will give Hams the opportunity for more democratic involvement, which is determined with the winners of the parliamentary elections.

In the same course, Tayseer Nasser Allah, a member of the Palestinian national council cherished Hamas decision and described it as brave and potentially historic.

Hams political involvement was announced yesterday at a Nablus press conference chaired by Dr. Muhammad Ghazal.

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"We have decided to participate in the elections in order to serve the nation in all areas and in order to deal with the failures on the political front," Ghazal said.

"The armed struggle and the Intifada have created new conditions that require new decisions. The Al-Aqsa Intifada and the armed struggle have superseded the Oslo Accords. The participation in the elections does not imply an end to the armed struggle and one does not affect the other."

Hamas political leader Mohammed Ghazal said the group would decide after the vote whether to join Abbas' cabinet and whether to support his moves to renew peace talks with Israel.
"Until then, anything can happen," Ghazal told reporters.

"We still haven't decided whether to be a part of the Palestinian government and we haven't decided on the issue of Israel ... we will decide in the future whether to talk to them."

However, other group leaders, including Mahmoud al-Zahar in the Gaza Strip, said the possibility exists and that if Hamas is part of the government it would participate in negotiations with Israel.

In the second phase of the municipal election in Gaza strip on last January Hamas won a landslide victory. On the basis of returns from 7 of 10 localities, Hamas movement was in front but mainstream political faction Fatah were in second place.

The election enhances the image of Hamas inside the Palestinian society and also increased from the influence of Hamas in the political map. In the same time, no one could ignore Hamas as second power after Fatah in the West Bank and equal power in Gaza Strip. Hamas could also increase its share in the Palestinian National Council from 25 % to 40 %.

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