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PA opens nominations for local elections amid ongoing opposition by political factions

March 28, 2017 2:55 P.M. (Updated: March 28, 2017 3:37 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority (PA) Central Elections Commission (CEC) announced on Tuesday the opening of nominations for the 2017 local elections, despite ongoing opposition to the elections by a number of Palestinian political factions.

The CEC said in a statement that it would receive nomination applications for electoral lists through its offices across the 11 districts in the occupied West Bank beginning Tuesday and until April 6.

The statement detailed specific guidelines for the applications, and explained that the nomination of candidates would be made within electoral lists on the basis of proportional representation, and that political parties, coalitions, or groups were entitled to form lists for the purpose of nomination to the membership of Local Authorities Councils.

The voter registration process for local elections was completed earlier in March.

However, after the Fatah-dominated PA announced the elections at the end of January would be scheduled in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Hamas -- the de facto ruling party of Gaza -- promptly rejected the plan, saying that elections should only take place after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah came to an end and reconciliation was achieved.

The Islamic Jihad movement joined Hamas in the boycott, and more recently, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine suspended its participation in elections in protest of the violent repression of recent demonstrations at the hands of PA security forces in the occupied West Bank.

The most recent attempt to hold local elections came after elections scheduled to be held in October were postponed, following backlash over a PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.

Prior to their cancellation, the municipal elections had been set to be the first in the Gaza Strip in a decade, after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 vote erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.
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