Hamas leader warns Israel against election interference
Hamas media published a video of Sinwar in which he appeared to be taking part in a preparatory meeting for the elections with other members of the movement, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“I send a message to the occupation leadership that we, in the leadership of Hamas, will not allow the occupation to interfere in the electoral process, and if it tries to interfere in our electoral process, we will confuse its calculations and sabotage its electoral process for it,” Sinwar, who has led Hamas in Gaza since 2017, said.
"One of our natural and simple rights as the people of Palestine is to exercise our right to govern our Palestinian home," the Hamas chief added.
Sinwar's statement was made as a Hamas delegation visited Russia late on Thursday.
The delegation, led by Hamas head of global affairs Musa Abu Marzouk, met with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and Alexei Skoyerev, Deputy Head of the Middle East Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Hamas said in a statement that the delegation briefed Bogdanov on Palestinian political developments, focusing on upcoming general legislative and presidential elections.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Election Commission, Farid Ta'mallah, said on Thursday that between 40,000 to 50,000 local and international observers and 5,000 local and international journalists are expected to be accredited to cover the electoral process.
He added that the Election Commission had already begun the process of accrediting observers and journalists, and wrote to dozens of civil society institutions working in the field of elections to ask them to submit applications for accreditation as local monitoring bodies.
In an interview with Voice of Palestine radio, he said that 16th February is the deadline for voter registration, adding that awareness-raising activities were being organized in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to encourage participation in the elections.
Last month, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree setting legislative elections for May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
These will be the first Palestinian polls in 15 years.