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Cabinet schedules 'supplementary' elections in Gaza despite Hamas boycott

May 31, 2017 3:43 P.M. (Updated: June 3, 2017 12:02 P.M.)
Palestinian cabinet (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet has decided to hold supplementary municipal elections in the Gaza Strip as well as in 66 West Bank councils where elections were not held on the regular election day earlier this month.

The May 13 elections only took place in the West Bank, as Hamas, the de facto rulers of the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the legitimacy of the election, saying that elections should only be held after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah comes to an end and reconciliation is achieved.

Meanwhile, as Palestinians cast their votes in 145 West Bank councils, 66 localities failed to present lists as required by law to run for the elections and therefore did not have elections. If these councils also fail to agree on lists, then the cabinet may appoint the council members, state-run Wafa news agency reported.

Following the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, Wafa quoted statements from the cabinet as saying that the supplementary elections would be held in the occupied West Bank on July 29, while supplementary elections in the besieged Gaza Strip would take place on October 10.

The cabinet said that PA Minister of Local Government Hussein al-Araj has been tasked with following up with the Central Elections Commission on holding the supplementary elections on the specified dates.

It remained unclear how the PA expected to carry out the elections in the Gaza Strip, as Hamas has not publicly reversed their boycott of the elections, though the party did encourage voters to turn out to the polls in the West Bank on election day.
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