Egypt Leads Drive to Curb Hamas Poll Success

(Guardian-UK) Simon Tisdall - Egypt is leading behind-the-scenes efforts to curb further ballotbox successes by the militant Palestinian group Hamas in planned parliamentary elections in Gaza and the West Bank. The "Stop Hamas" campaign is part of a strategy to secure a large-scale international aid and reconstruction effort and a victory for Fatah and other "moderate" Palestinian factions in polls tentatively rescheduled for next January. A senior Arab official claimed Cairo had pressured Abbas to postpone the elections because of concerns that Hamas would win "a clear majority." He said Egypt was calculating that the return of Gaza would give a big boost to Abbas. The Egyptian strategy calls for an immediate injection of financial assistance for Gaza. Between $500m and $800m in funds for the PA has already been allocated by Saudi Arabia and other regional states, official sources said. Hamas would be offered post-election carrots in the form of up to four ministerial posts and the opportunity to retain its weapons, possibly as part of the PA's reformed security forces, the senior Arab official predicted. "Hamas must be included," the Egyptian prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, said this week. "We should not leave people out. If we do, they will be the problem of the future." But Cairo is also keen to prevent Hamas's electoral successes being emulated by its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt.

2005-06-15 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive