A student supporting Hamas holds a Palestinian flag in a rally in Ramallah, earlier this year.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) revealed on Tuesday that only 196 out of 416 municipalities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had submitted multiple lists for the October 8 local elections.
Voting takes place only if multiple lists are submitted, meaning that there might be no voting at all in the majority of locales.
The committee said that 181 municipalities had turned in consensus lists, 38 had failed to file any lists, and one submitted an incomplete list.
With regard to the municipalities that filed no lists or an incomplete list, CEC spokesman Farid Tanallah told The Jerusalem Post
that the Palestinian Authority would hold “completion” elections after October 8, appoint new municipal councils or allow the current councils to stay in place.
The vast majority of the municipalities submitting consensus lists, no lists or incomplete lists are in rural areas.
The West Bank’s most populous cities – including Hebron, Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah – were among the 196 locales submitting multiple lists.
Ziyad Iyyad, a professor of political science at al-Quds University in Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post
that many of the municipalities submitting consensus lists did so because a number rival factions wanted to guarantee they would fill seats on municipal councils.
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“Some of the PLO’s factions want to make sure that they win seats on the various municipal councils without having to take the risk of competing in the elections,” Iyyad said. “The consensus lists allow them to do that.”
Iyyad said that in most of the 181 municipalities submitting such lists, Fatah is well represented, meaning an early victory for the mainstream movement.
“Of course, Hamas likely is not satisfied with this development,” he added.
Iyyad explained that tribal disputes were generally behind the failures to submit lists.
“Most of these  municipalities come from tribal areas, where the factions have less influence, and unresolved family disputes and differences prevented the relevant tribal parties from submitting a list,” he stated. “Unfortunately, these municipalities have missed their chance.”
The October 8 vote will mark the first time both Hamas and Fatah participate in elections throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the 2006 parliamentary polling.
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