PA leadership to discuss postponement of elections

The PA has threatened to cancel the May elections if Israel does not permit Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Shtayyeh
Mohammad Shtayyeh

The Palestinian Authority leadership will convene later this week to discuss whether to postpone next month’s elections if Israel does not allow voting in eastern Jerusalem, PA cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Shtayyeh said at a Cabinet meeting that the leadership would discuss the elections on Thursday, when representatives of all the main factions are set to meet.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently issued a decree ordering general elections in PA-assigned territories.

The decree states that legislative elections will take place on May 22. A “presidential” election will take place on July 31. It sets a deadline of August 31 for establishing the Palestinian National Council.

The PA has continuously demanded that Israel permit Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote in the elections. In this regard, PA officials have been working in the international arena in an attempt to get Israel to agree to this demand.

The PA has in the past used Israel’s refusal to permit Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse not to hold elections at all, and could do the same thing this time.

On Sunday, Abbas made clear that the PA is adamant on having Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem vote in the elections.

"We will not agree to hold the general election without the residents of Jerusalem," Abbas said at a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee, urging the international community to pressure the Israeli government on this issue.

Last Wednesday, a senior PA official said he believes there is a “90% chance” that the elections will be postponed.

A day later, a Hamas official warned that any postponement of the elections would deal a heavy blow to efforts to reconcile between Hamas and Fatah.