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Elections commission awaiting authorization for Gaza work

Jan. 18, 2013 10:46 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2013 7:45 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The head of the central elections commission said Friday the organization is ready to start work in the Gaza Strip as soon as it receives authorization from the government.

Hisham Kuhail told Ma’an the electoral body had almost finished preparing the voter register in Gaza when its work was blocked at the last minute in July.

According to a deal with Hamas outlined by Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad on Thursday, the commission should resume work by Jan. 30.

The West Bank held separate local council elections in recent months, after Hamas had called off electoral registration in the Gaza Strip at the last minute, citing political partiality concerns and highlighting repression of its members in the West Bank.

Holding fresh elections was a key component of the stalled 2011 unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Since the parties split into separate governments in 2007, elections for parliament, president, and local councils have been delayed.

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