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Palestinian Authority sets municipal elections for October 8

June 21, 2016 6:54 P.M. (Updated: June 23, 2016 11:40 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian cabinet on Tuesday, which meets weekly in Ramallah, has announced a decision to hold municipal elections on October 8, according to a statement released by the cabinet.

The cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, appointed a central elections committee to start preparations for the upcoming elections, and gave the local governance minister the responsibility to follow up on organizing and facilitating elections with the central elections committee.

It was unclear whether the elections would include the besieged Gaza Strip, where Hamas has ruled since the movement’s victory in the 2006 general
elections.

However, the head of the Fatah media committee, Munir al-Jaghoub, urged in a statement on Tuesday for the Palestinian government to commit itself to a unified election across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, adding that without Gaza the elections would be incomplete, emphasizing the need for a "national united voice."

The last local elections were held in 2012, without including the Gaza Strip, and were mired in allegations of corruption and political intimidation by Fatah officials, resulting in Hamas boycotting the elections.

Political divisions between Hamas and Fatah were cemented following Fatah's defeat in Gaza's general elections a decade ago and the subsequent tensions that broke out between the two parties as both struggled to consolidate control over the small Palestinian territory.

Despite reconciliation efforts currently underway to unify the two factions, it remained unclear if municipal elections would include the participation of Hamas.
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