We bring you the news, background, interviews and features on the elections.

 

News

 

West reacts warily to Hamas victory
Western powers have warned that they will not deal with a Hamas-led Palestinian government unless it renounces violence and recognises Israel's right to exist.

 

Israel in shock over Hamas victory
Israel is in shock over the likely Palestinian electoral victory of the Islamist group Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis and advocates the destruction of the Jewish state.

 

Iran hails Hamas victory

Iran has congratulated the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas for its election victory and praised voters for choosing "to continue the struggle and resistance against occupation".

 

EU keen on 'peaceful' Palestinian govt

The European Commission, reacting to an apparent victory by the Hamas movement in Palestinian parliamentary elections, has said it would work with any government that used peaceful means.

 

High turnout at Palestinian polls
High voter turnout has been reported in the first Palestinian legislative elections in a decade.

 

President Abbas called for
Palestinians to vote in force

Fatah attacked for taking US funds

Palestinian parties competing in legislative elections on Wednesday have criticised the reported US financial assistance to Fatah's election campaign.

 

Barghuthi courts Hamas in unity call

Marwan al-Barghuthi, the jailed Palestinian leader, has extended a hand to Hamas and called for all parties to join in a broad national coalition after the Palestinian election this week.

 

Hamas drawing level with Fatah

Hamas, the most powerful Islamist group in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, will be running neck and neck with the ruling Fatah party in next week's legislative elections.

 

Palestinians reject US meddling in poll

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have rejected a resolution by the US House of Representatives that would make American aid conditional on the exclusion of Hamas from parliamentary elections in January.

 

 

Ismail Haniya, the top Hamas
chief candidate, voting in Gaza

Israel
accused of skewing elections

The Israeli army is cracking down on civil servants and community leaders, including elected local government officials, throughout the West Bank, in what some believe to be an attempt to force Hamas out of forthcoming Palestinian elections.

 

Israel: Hamas win would be disastrous

Israel has said that a victory for Hamas in Palestinian parliamentary elections would set the region back 50 years, but Palestinians say any move to stop the resistance group from running would be undemocratic.

 

'Mother of martyrs' runs for Hamas

A mother who has lost three sons fighting Israel is to run for Hamas in Palestinian parliamentary elections.

 

An East Jerusalem post office 
prepares for the voting

More women for Palestinian parliament

A record number of women - including the wives and widows of notable political figures - will take up seats in the Palestinian parliament after legislative elections in January.

 

Hamas credits Sharon with poll boost

Thousands of Hamas supporters have celebrated the group's 18th anniversary in a mass rally in Gaza City, and its spokesman said that tough Israeli policies had only increased its popularity.

 

Hamas leader: Israel talks possible

The leader of Hamas in its Gaza Strip stronghold says he does not rule out future negotiations between the group and Israel, in an unusual interview with Israeli radio.

 

 

Background

 

Q&A - What the Hamas victory means

Here's a look at what the Hamas victory could mean for Palestinian relations, Mideast peacemaking and Palestinian politics.

Hamas: The new political forceFollowing its shock victory in Palestinian elections Hamas looks set to be involved in democratic government for the first time.

The main issues
Some of the main issues surrounding the Palestinian elections.

 

Candidate profiles

Some brief profiles of candidates in the Palestinian elections.

 

Palestinian election facts

More than 1.5 million eligible voters are to elect 132 members to the Palestinian parliament or Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Wednesday.

 

 

Interviews

 

Christian candidate on Hamas ticket

Hosam al-Taweel, 40, is a Christian candidate running on the electoral ticket of Islamic resistance group Hamas in Gaza, in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections.

 

Ex-US president Jimmy Carter (C)
was one of the foreign observers

Palestinians offered a Third Way

In addition to Fatah and Hamas, who have been dominating the Palestinian political arena, myriad newly formed political groups are contesting the Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for 25 January.

 

Dennis Ross: Sharon drove peace efforts

Ariel Sharon's sudden exit has created a storm of uncertainty in Israeli politics and will probably affect Palestinian legislative elections later this month.

 

Hamas: Negotiations a waste of time

Mahmoud Khalid al-Zahar is a prominent leader in the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and one of its remaining founders. Many of the organisation's key players have been assassinated by the Israeli occupation army.

 

 

Features

 

Palestinians hope for change after polls

Palestinians head to the polls on 25 January to vote for a new parliament, their first legislative election in nearly 10 years.