12 evacuated municipalities will not hold local elections this month — ministry

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Illustrative: Vote counting in the municipal elections on October 30, 2018 (David Cohen/Flash90)
Illustrative: Vote counting in the municipal elections on October 30, 2018 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Twelve municipal authorities will not take part in the nationwide municipal elections slated for February 27 due to the conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah, while voting booths will be set up in the Gaza Strip to enable soldiers currently on combat duty in the war-torn territory to vote, the Interior Ministry announces.

The elections were originally scheduled for October 31, 2023, but were postponed due to the outbreak of war with Hamas in Gaza, and then postponed again after being rescheduled for January 30 because of the ongoing conflict.

The 12 municipal districts that won’t hold elections are those that have been ordered evacuated due to their proximity to the fighting in Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon, where numerous towns and communities have borne the brunt of hundreds of attacks by Hezbollah.

Some 241 local authorities will go to the polls on February 27. The Interior Ministry will conduct security evaluations every two hours on election day in coordination with the IDF Home Front Command and the Israel Police in order to ensure the safety of voters.

Ryan Ghanem, national inspector for elections, confirmed that soldiers on combat duty will be able to vote in the elections in polling stations in Gaza, starting on February 20, but says he cannot disclose the number of soldiers who are eligible to vote there or the number of polling stations that will be set up in the territory for that purpose.

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