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Bethlehem municipal council approves newly elected mayor

May 23, 2017 7:19 P.M. (Updated: May 23, 2017 7:19 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Bethlehem city municipal council approved on Tuesday the election of lawyer Anton Salman as the southern occupied West Bank city’s new mayor, with Hanna Hanania serving as deputy mayor.

Tuesday’s events took place during the council’s first session, a week after local elections were held, amid a low voter turnout and a boycott by multiple parties.

Mayor Salman spoke at the session, saying that he will uphold his “responsibility to serve the city of Bethlehem and its residents.”

Salman thanked all residents of Bethlehem for “giving their trust to the new council,” as he lauded the efforts of the Central Elections Committee (CEC) and Palestinian Authority (PA) security services for the “success of the elections.”

Local elections were initially scheduled to be held in October, but were postponed, following backlash over a Fatah-led PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.

The elections only took place in the West Bank, as Hamas, the de facto leading party of the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the legitimacy of the elections.

The PA was also prohibited from carrying out elections in occupied East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel following the 1967 military takeover of the Palestinian territory.
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