BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) said in a statement that it briefed members of the Elections Working Group (EWG) on the implementation of local elections held in the occupied West Bank earlier this month, “(expressing) hope for the electoral process to be resumed soon in the Gaza Strip.”
During the meeting, held Tuesday at the CEC’s headquarters in al-Bireh in the Ramallah district, “technical aspects of the electoral process, including obstacles encountered, the elections results, and objections to results filed before the elections court,” were also discussed.
According to the statement, CEC Chairman Hanna Nasir also “made a reference to the presence of local and international observers who monitored all aspects of the electoral process.”
“On their part, EWG members praised the success of the CEC in organizing elections and expressed their full support to the Commission and confidence in its work,” the CEC statement concluded.
The CEC had previously reported that the voter turnout stood at 53.4 percent — a participation rate virtually the same as in the 2012 and 2005 locals elections
, which has been seen by analysts as a sign of disaffection with Fatah and the PA.
As anti-PA sentiment has continued to grow
over the past year, a number of political factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), decided to boycott the elections.
The elections were initially scheduled to be held in October, but were postponed
, following backlash over a PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.
Prior to their cancellation, the municipal elections had been set to be the first in the Gaza Strip in a decade, after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 vote erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.
The elections only took place in the West Bank, as Hamas, the de facto leading party of the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the legitimacy of the elections.
The PA was meanwhile prohibited from carrying out elections in occupied East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel following the 1967 military takeover of the Palestinian territory.