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Central Elections Commission to visit Gaza next week

Jan. 26, 2013 10:10 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 5:25 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Central Elections Commission will visit Gaza on Wednesday to start updating the electoral roll in preparation for a vote, a statement said.

"This visit comes following a meeting on Thursday evening between President Mahmoud Abbas, CEC chief Hanna Nasser and secretary general Rami Hamdallah," a statement from the electoral body said.

On Thursday, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh phoned CEC chief Nasser and invited him to bring a delegation to Gaza to discuss updating electoral registration.

The CEC delegation will consist of Hanna Nasser, Rami Hamdallah, executive officer Hisham Khalil, and deputy executive director Ashraf Shuaibi, together with several prominent judges.

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas met recently in Cairo and agreed to set a timetable to implement the May 2011 reconciliation deal to form a unity government that will oversee elections.

The party leaders agreed that the CEC would resume work updating the voter registry in Gaza by the end of January.

The electoral roll has not been updated in Gaza since the last local elections were held in January 2005.

In July 2012, Hamas suspended the CEC's work a day before it was due to begin registering voters in Gaza, citing the continued arrest of Hamas members in the West Bank and its questions over the commission's impartiality.
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