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'Media awareness campaign' launched ahead of local West Bank elections

May 2, 2017 7:00 P.M. (Updated: May 2, 2017 7:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority's Central Elections Committee (CEC) launched a media awareness campaign on Tuesday, regarding the highly disputed upcoming local elections to be held in the occupied West Bank on May 13. 

The CEC released a statement saying that various “awareness messages” have been disseminated across all districts of the West Bank through newspapers, TV and radio spots, billboards, and social media, in addition to “field awareness activities” conducted by the CEC’s field supervisors. 

The statement noted that all print and audio visual material that was produced took into consideration the needs of persons with disabilities and the illiterate, highlighting that the CEC published 5,000 brochures in braille and various brochures in illustrative pictures on how to vote.

While the elections process continued to move forward, a number of Palestinian political factions have continued to boycott the elections, including the Hamas movement, Islamic Jihad, and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). 

After the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (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 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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