Palestinian Flag 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
RAMALLAH - The Palestinian Authority announced on Tuesday it was
postponing local elections scheduled for July until October, giving time
to organize the vote in the Gaza Strip. The delay had been expected following a surprise unity deal in April
between Fatah and Hamas.
Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said delaying the vote until October 22 would allow time
for the body which oversees Palestinian elections to organize voting in
the Gaza Strip.
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The delay means the election will be held after September, when Abbas
has said he will ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a
The last time Palestinians voted was 2006, when Hamas won legislative elections, leading to a deep split in the Palestinian national movement and the eventual establishment of rival governments in Gaza and Ramallah.
The local elections will give an indication of the popularity of Fatah
and Hamas ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections, which the
unity deal brokered by Egypt calls for within a year.
Representatives of Fatah and Hamas are holding talks this week in Cairo
aimed at agreeing on a government of technocrats to run Palestinian
affairs in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip until the new elections
The rival groups have agreed that the government will not include any
members of either Fatah or Hamas, a group which is hostile to Israel and
whose security forces will continue to control the Gaza Strip.
Municipal elections had been scheduled for the West Bank in 2010 but
they were postponed after Fatah failed to agree on a list of candidates.