PA announces municipal elections to be held in December

PA electoral commission says municipal elections will be held in PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and Gaza, if Hamas allows the vote.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Ramallah
Ramallah
iStock

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) electoral commission announced on Friday that municipal elections will be held in December in PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and also in Gaza, if Hamas allows the vote to take place in the enclave, AFP reports.

The last municipal vote was held in Judea and Samaria four years ago, but Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, has prevented such an election.

"We have set the electoral calendar, but we do not know if Hamas will allow the organization of municipal elections in Gaza," said Farid Taamallah, spokesperson for the electoral commission, an independent body based in Ramallah, according to AFP.

"We are waiting for the Palestinian government to coordinate with Gaza and inform us of what will be decided," he added.

Hamas and Fatah have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry since 2007, when Hamas violently took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah in a bloody coup.

The two organizations signed a reconciliation deal in late 2017, but that agreement has never been implemented and is one of many attempts that have failed over the years to ease the tensions between the two groups.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially announced in late April that the Palestinian legislative elections would be postponed. While he cited Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote as the reason for the postponement, many believe that the real reason is Abbas’ fear that he would lose the elections to Hamas.

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

This was not the first time that the PA has used Israel’s refusal to permit Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse not to hold elections at all.

Hamas, which opposes the postponement of the elections, has threatened a confrontation with the Palestinian Authority in response to the move.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)



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