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Palestinians express anger over delayed elections during May Day rallies

PALESTINIANS expressed their anger at the cancellation of elections during May Day demonstrations in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank on Saturday, with Hamas demanding urgent talks.

“Delaying the polls is a political sin,” Hamas candidate Suleiman Abu Sitta told a rally in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, adding that the protest showed that the “masses today are angry at the decision of the Palestinian Authority.”

President Mahmoud Abbas has come under fire for unilaterally postponing next month’s election, the first national poll since 2006.

His explanation was that Israel had refused to guarantee that Palestinians living in east Jerusalem would be able to participate.

This has been dismissed as bluster by opposition groups, who accuse Mr Abbas of wanting to avoid elections that his Fatah party might lose to Hamas, which is tipped to do well.

Palestinian officials said they had offered four possible solutions to allow the elections to go ahead, but Mr Abbas opted for a delay.

Hamas spokesman Hessam Badran said that the Islamist group was working with other parties to develop a road map to ensure that Palestinians are not denied their right to a vote.

“There is a national consensus on the need to hold Palestinian elections,” he insisted.

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