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Central Elections Commission Urges Abbas to Postpone Local Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas kisses a Palestinian flag before raising it during United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in Manhattan, September 30, 2015. Even though Palestine is not a member of the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted a Palestinian-drafted resolution that permits non-member observer states to fly their flags alongside those of full member states. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Ramallah- The Palestinian Supreme Court ruling to hold municipal elections exclusively in the West Bank caused multiple reactions. Hamas threatened to take action to break Fatah party’s monopoly of the elections, and the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to delay the local elections by at least six months until they can be held in the whole Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Supreme Court decided on Monday to resume preparations for the elections in the West Bank and to suspend it in Gaza Strip, awaiting a resolution from the Palestinian cabinet in this regards because “courts in Gaza Strip are not legal.”

Elections were scheduled to be held on 8 October to choose local and municipal councils in around 416 towns and cities in West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, they were postponed on Wednesday after a court delayed a ruling on whether to hold the first vote since 2006 to include both Fatah and Hamas.

The Palestinian government is supposed to set this month the elections’ date in the West Bank in case Abbas does not heed the commission’s recommendation. In a statement, the commission showed full respect to the court’s ruling but added that this might “exacerbate division” and “harm the public interest and the democratic process in Palestine.” Based on this, the commission recommended that Abbas postpone local elections by at least six months.

“The high court’s decision to hold elections in the West Bank without Gaza is a politicization of the judiciary and a deepening of division which is unacceptable to the nation,” Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said.

Hamas expressed in a news conference on Monday its surprise of the court’s ruling to hold elections in the West Bank without Gaza Strip. “This decision is evidence that the government is not considering the national and Palestinian will,” added Hamas.