Fatah studies postponing elections

April 15, 2005 at 10:25 AM

GAZA, April 15 (UPI) -- The Fatah movement is considering seeking a postponement of scheduled legislative elections for fear of being outpolled by Hamas, officials said Friday.

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar predicted the militant group would win a majority in the scheduled July 17 ballotting for a new council.

He also said he is sure Hamas would win an overwhelming victory in the legislative council and would form a Cabinet.

This would be the first time Hamas participated in elections.

Official Palestinian sources said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah leaders are afraid they would be defeated by Hamas, which has been steadily growing in strength.

Hamas won most of the municipal councils in local elections held in 36 municipalities in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas is also winning elections in student councils, local associations and non-government organizations.

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