Palestinian local elections put on hold by high court

Campaigning for upcoming local elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was suspended Thursday by a Palestinian court, according to a Central Elections Commission official in Ramallah.

The High Judicial Council will meet again on September 21 to decide whether elections will take place as planned, or will be cancelled or postponed, the official said.

The vote is currently set for October 8.

The decision to suspend the elections comes after the Fatah party accused its rival, Hamas, of sabotage, citing the rejection of Fatah electoral lists by Gazan courts and the exclusion of East Jerusalem from the voting.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, criticized the ruling as politically motivated and illegal. He added that the problem was not with the courts in Gaza, but with how the lists had been prepared.

During the suspension, the parties are not allowed to campaign, and the elections commission is forbidden from working.

The last municipal elections in the Gaza Strip were in 2005, two years before Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave by violently overpowering security forces answering to President Mahmoud Abbas.

The local elections are seen as a litmus test for Abbas and his Fatah party. Parliamentary elections have not been conducted since Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliament in 2006.

Last update: Thu, 08/09/2016 - 14:19

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