Hamas Rejects Abbas' Proposal for Elections

Hamas has rejected a proposal by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (search) to postpone parliament elections until the end of the year in exchange for Cabinet posts, a senior official in the Islamic militant group said Thursday.

Hamas (search), the largest opposition group, is expected to do well in the elections set for July 17, while Abbas fears his Fatah (search) movement will be punished by voters for a decade of corruption and mismanagement in the Palestinian Authority (search).

Abbas recently approached Hamas with the offer to postpone the election until the end of the year, a senior Hamas official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. In exchange for agreeing to the delay, Hamas would be given a number of Cabinet posts, according to the plan.

Fatah officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Hamas official said his group rejected the idea and insisted that elections be held on time. He also said Hamas and Fatah would have to agree on key policy issues before Hamas would join a Cabinet. Hamas staunchly opposes negotiations with Israel, a cornerstone of Fatah's platform.