Jerusalem: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday postponed planned parliamentary elections amid a dispute over voting in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem and splits in his Fatah party.
Abbas, 85, blamed Israel for uncertainty about whether it would allow the legislative elections to proceed in Jerusalem as well as in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
The decision came three months after he announced the first national elections for 15 years in what was widely seen as a response to criticism of the democratic legitimacy of Palestinian institutions, including his own presidency.
The dispute over Jerusalem was the principal reason cited by Abbas in a speech early Friday following a meeting of Palestinian political factions.
“Facing this difficult situation, we decided to postpone the date of holding legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem and its people is guaranteed,” Abbas said in the speech on Palestinian TV.
“Jerusalem will not be compromised, and our people in Jerusalem will not give up their right to exercise their democratic rights.”