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The European Union on Friday criticized the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' decision to postpone its legislative elections, which had been scheduled for the end of May.

In a statement, the EU wrote: "The decision to postpone the planned Palestinian elections, including the legislative elections originally scheduled for 22 May, is deeply disappointing."

"The EU has consistently expressed its support for credible, inclusive and transparent elections for all Palestinians."

"We firmly believe that strong, inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions based on respect for the rule of law and human rights are vital for the Palestinian people, for democratic legitimacy and, ultimately, for the two-state solution," the statement added.

"We strongly encourage all Palestinian actors to resume efforts to build on the successful talks between the factions over recent months. A new date for elections should be set without delay.

"We reiterate our call on Israel to facilitate the holding of such elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem.

"The EU calls for calm and restraint from all actors at this sensitive time," it concluded, adding that, "the EU continues to stand ready to work with all those involved to facilitate EU observation of any electoral process."

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.

Abbas pledged to hold parliamentary elections within six months in December of 2018 and did not fulfill that promise.

He renewed a pledge to hold fresh parliamentary elections in the PA in December of 2019, but those elections were never held, either. At the time, the PA chairman demanded that Israel allow the elections to be held in eastern Jerusalem, a request which Israel chose to ignore.

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.

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