Voter registration centers open in West Bank, Jerusalem

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The Palestinian Central Elections Commission announced on Saturday opening voter registration centers in all local councils in the West Bank starting from Saturday morning until Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming local elections on 13th May 2017 which will be held in the West Bank only.

The commission said in a press statement that 758 voter registration centers were opened in the West Bank and Jerusalem based on a decision by the Council of Ministers, adding that the electronic registration is available through the website of the commission.

According to the Palestinian law, all citizens who have Palestinian IDs, enjoy legal eligibility, and are 17 years old or more (born on 8th March 2000 and before) have the right to register in any of the centers placed in the local council which is registered as an address of residence in their ID cards.

1,125,310 names were registered in the primary list of voters representing 76.19% of the citizens of the West Bank who have the right to vote.

Publication and objections are considered the first stages of local elections which will continue for 5 days to reach a final, accurate and updated voters’ record.

The Central Commission announced opening the door for censorship committees and journalists to cover and observe the elections process from the first days of registration until the announcement of results. It affirmed that special facilities will be provided for citizens, observers, and journalists with disabilities.

The Palestinian High Court in Ramallah decided in October 2016 to complete the procedures of the local elections in the West Bank only excluding the Gaza Strip. The court justified its ruling by claiming that appellate courts in Gaza are illegal.

Later on, the Palestinian consensus government decided to postpone the local elections (which were scheduled to be held on 8th October 2016) for Four months.

The Palestinian government in Ramallah said that Hamas was given a week time limit, which ended on Monday, to allow holding the elections in the Gaza Strip on 13th May 2017.

Hamas stated that holding local elections in the West Bank and excluding the Gaza Strip will “entrench the internal division”, stressing that the Movement “will never be subjected to the policy of threats and blackmail.”

In an earlier statement published on 21st February 2017, the Palestinian consensus government called on Hamas Movement to change its position toward the local elections scheduled to be held in mid-May.

The government affirmed that Hamas’s participation in the local elections would be “a gateway to a national consensus on the general political elections including the presidential elections and the elections of the National and Legislative councils.”

The latest Palestinian municipal elections were held in 2012 in the West Bank only as Hamas refused to participate and prevented holding them in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 04.03.2017)

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