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Hamas: Abbas to be illegal president after January

By Xinhua,

Gaza : A senior Islamic Hamas movement leader said on Wednesday that his movement would call President Mahmoud Abbas “the illegal president” if the presidential elections are not held in January next year.

Ismail Radwan told reporters in Gaza that his movement “won’t recognize the legality of President Abbas after his presidential term ends on Jan. 9 next year, and he will then be called the illegal president.”

“In case a Palestinian accordance agreement is not reached (in Cairo) and if there are no presidential elections on Jan. 9, 2009,the legal presidential term of Abbas would be over,” said Radwan.

Egypt is exerting efforts to bring the leaders of the two rival movements, Fatah and Hamas, to Cairo in early November to agree on ending the current internal political split between Gaza and the West Bank.

After Hamas movement routed pro-Abbas forces in Gaza Strip in mid June last year, the impoverished enclave became under the full control of the Islamic movement, while the West Bank is dominated by Abbas’ Western-backed government.

However, Fatah movement said that the former Fatah-controlled Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) had approved an amendment to the basic law, according to which both the presidential and legislative elections would be held in January 2010.

Hamas won the legislative elections held in January 2006 and took control of the PLC. The movement had formed two governments, the second one was deposed by Abbas after Hamas seized Gaza.

Abbas has earlier instructed to form a legal committee of Palestinians and Arab law experts to decide on whether Abbas would be a legal President by January or not. Hamas has hinted that it accepts forming the committee.