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Elections commission sets date to update Gaza voter registry

Jan. 30, 2013 9:12 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 11:30 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Central Elections Commission will start updating the voter registry in Gaza on Feb. 11, a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official said Wednesday.

Palestinian factions met with the electoral body in Gaza City on Wednesday.

DFLP official Abdul-Hamid Abu Habbab told Ma'an that factions agreed the commission would update the electoral roll in 254 centers in Gaza over one week, starting Feb. 11

He said around 350,000 eligible voters were not registered. The roll has not been updated in Gaza since Jan. 2005.

A media campaign will be launched to encourage voter registration, Abu Habbab said. "We hope this step will pave the way to presidential and parliamentarian elections," he added.

Earlier Wednesday, commission chief Hanna Nasser met with Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh.

Nasser told reporters at a news conference that most obstacles to preparing for elections had been resolved.

Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the ministries of interior and education had been instructed to cooperate with the CEC and facilitate its work.

Once the voter registry is updated, the CEC will prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections and a vote for the PLO's Palestinian National Council, al-Nunu said.

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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