BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestine’s Central Elections Committee (CEC) announced that the accreditation of agents of electoral lists for the highly disputed upcoming elections in the occupied West Bank began on Tuesday and would be ongoing until May 7.
The nominated electoral lists are permitted to submit applications for their “representative agents to observe the upcoming local elections. Accredited agents will receive cards which allow them access to polling and tabulation centers,” the statement read.
After the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) announced the elections at the end of January would be scheduled in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Hamas -- the de facto ruling party of Gaza -- promptly rejected the plan, saying that elections should only take place after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah came to an end and reconciliation was achieved. The Islamic Jihad movement joined Hamas in the boycott, and more recently, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) suspended its participation in elections in protest of the violent repression of recent demonstrations at the hands of PA security forces in the occupied West Bank. The most recent attempt to hold local elections came after elections scheduled to be held in October were postponed, following backlash over a PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.
Prior to their cancellation, the municipal elections had been set to be the first in the Gaza Strip in a decade, after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 vote erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.