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PLC member accuses PA of stalling elections

Jan. 21, 2011 7:45 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2011 9:49 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Legislative Council member Hasan Khreisheh on Friday accused the Palestinian Authority of trying to further delay elections.

PA Minister for Local Governance Khaled Qawasmeh said Thursday that the government would amend elections law and hold the vote for municipal elections in the West Bank only.

"Current elections law includes holding elections in Gaza and the West Bank at the same time, but as the central elections committee cannot work in Gaza there will be an amendment on the law to allow holding the elections in the West Bank only," he said.

Khreisheh told Ma'an Radio that Qawasmeh was attempting to stall elections.

Further, he said only the president could change Palestinian law.

The PLC official called on the PA to appoint a date for local elections.

The PA canceled elections weeks ahead of a planned July 2010 vote. Officials cited Hamas' refusal to participate in the elections as the reason for the postponement.

Critics said the Fatah-led PA was unnerved by the popularity of leftist factions in the polls and delayed the vote fearing Fatah would lose.

In December 2010, the Palestinian High Court ruled the postponement of elections illegal, and said all efforts must be made to ensure that they were held at the soonest possible time.

On 21 December the Palestinian Authority Cabinet in Ramallah
authorized the Minister of Local Government to start the process of identifying a new date for elections.

The minister said he was looking into the establishment of an "acceptable mechanism" to hold elections across Palestinian areas. In institutes in order to reach for an acceptable mechanism to hold local elections in the Palestinian territories.

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