Hamas: Abbas Can't Be President and PM

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayyah said while Hamas remains committed to the unity deal reached with Fatah in Doha, it is unlawful for Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to serve as president and prime minister.

"Make it lawful, as Abbas cannot be president and prime minister according to the law," al-Hayyah said in an interview with the Palestinian Authority's official Ma'an News Agency, posted on its website.

Al-Hayyah said a meeting between exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and the Hamas delegation "was not an official meeting." Its purpose, he said, was to "prepare for the upcoming meeting between Abbas and Meshaal [on] Thursday to address details of the Doha agreement."

"Nobody in Hamas has announced refusal to the Doha agreement and [senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-] Zahar's remarks were misrepresented and overstated," al-Hayyah said.

"Meshaal discussed the details with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] in Doha, and Hamas is officially committed to it," he said, adding that in addition to preparing for legislative and presidential elections, the unity government would focus on reconstructing the Gaza Strip, restructuring security arrangements and ending the "blockade."

Al-Hayyah said the reason Hamas had not allowed the elections commission to register voters is because "Hamas supporters in the West Bank still face multiple restrictions."

"Can Hamas supporters in the West Bank live freely and go to the polls freely? The answer is no," he said.

"Further, Fatah claims its supporters in Gaza are facing similar conditions so elections are not possible," al-Hayyah concluded, according to the report.

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