Palestinians vote in local polls despite Hamas opposition

Palestinians voted in the municipal elections in the West Bank despite the opposition of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which has been ruling the coastal enclave since 2007.

The local vote came after President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled the parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian territories earlier this year, reports Xinhua news agency.

Hana Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC), told a news briefing that more than 405,000 Palestinians have the right to cast ballots for representatives in 154 village councils in the West Bank.

The polling stations were opened to voters in the 154 West Bank villages on Saturday morning, and closed at 7 p.m. Municipal votes in the major West Bank cities had been postponed.

Nasser called on the Palestinians, who have the right to vote, to participate in the municipal elections, saying all necessary arrangements had been made to facilitate the arrival of the voters to the polling stations.

“Around 1,600 local and international observers were watching the polling and will do the counting right after the ballots are closed in the evening,” Nasser told reporters. “The results of the votes counting will be immediately declared.”

In September, the Palestinian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye decided to divide the municipal elections into two phases, with the first on December 11 and the second in March 2022.

The first phase of the municipal vote was held in the West Bank only, excluding the Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The elections won’t be held in East Jerusalem either because of Israel’s rejection.

Hamas and the less-influential Palestinian Islamic Jihad said in two separate statements that they reject the exclusion of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian municipal elections.

The two Islamic groups called on President Abbas to abide by the previous understandings to hold the general elections in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here