West Bank municipal elections start amid rage with Abbas

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Citizens started today casting their votes in the first phase of municipal elections in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The elections are held amid rising anger with PA President Mahmoud Abbas after he cancelled planned legislative and presidential votes earlier this year.

Voting takes place in 154 villages and local councils located in the West Bank, with polling stations closing at 7pm local time (21:00 GMT).

However, no ballots will be cast in over 220 other councils, either because only one list is competing or no lists have been submitted.

Other factions criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) for splitting the local elections and also for its decision to postpone long-awaited parliamentary and presidential elections.

Hamas, which won Palestine’s latest legislative elections, announced a boycott of the local elections, insisting that polls at the national level should be held.

Municipal elections were previously held in 2012 and 2017 in the West Bank, but not in the Gaza Strip, as Hamas boycotted the elections over divisions between the two parties.

Aref Jaffal, director of the Palestine-based Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al-Marsad), said the PA “diluted the importance and power” of this year’s local elections by holding them in two phases – a move he branded “definitely political” that showcased a lack of appetite for real reforms and would result in the entrenchment of Fatah’s divisions with Hamas.

(Source / 12.12.2021)

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