Palestinians set delayed local elections for May 13
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Palestinians set delayed local elections for May 13

PA ministers schedule first vote since 2006, though Hamas in Gaza expected to shun ballot

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote during local elections at a polling station in the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 20, 2012. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote during local elections at a polling station in the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 20, 2012. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

The Palestinian Authority said Tuesday that local elections that had been due to be held in the West Bank and Gaza last October will now take place on May 13.

The terrorist Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip has been at odds with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party over the organization of their first elections in a decade.

“Today, at a regular meeting, the council of ministers decided to hold elections on May 13, to be held in the West Bank and Gaza,” local government minister Hussein al-Araj told AFP.

The elections will likely only take place in the West Bank, run by Abbas and his Fatah movement. Fatah’s political rival, the terror group Hamas, is unlikely to permit voting in the Gaza Strip, which it seized in a violent 2007 takeover.

Hamas’s spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group rejected Tuesday’s decision by the West Bank-based Fatah on the new election date.

The elections were postponed after a court decision last year with Fatah and Hamas trading blame over the delay.

The rival parties have not participated together in an election since 2006 parliamentary polls, which Hamas won — sparking a conflict that led to near civil war in Gaza the following year.

Reconciliation attempts have repeatedly failed, and Hamas boycotted the most recent municipal elections in 2012.

According to local opinion polls and political experts, Hamas — which has been enjoying unusual popularity in the West Bank and remains well-supported in Gaza — is expected to make significant gains in the elections.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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