Palestinian Authority Postpones Elections Four Months

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that municipal elections will be postponed for four months.

The elections, which were suspended on September 8, were put off again, a day after a PA court ruled to hold the elections in Yehudah and Shomron but not the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that the government in coordination with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the elections as a part of its commitment “to the general interest of the people” so that Palestinians living in both areas will be able to vote on the same day.

PA government spokesman Jamal Dajani told The Jerusalem Post that the government is hoping to use the interim period to address the concerns of the court that the state of the judiciary in Gaza is such as to preclude elections there.

The PA does not recognize the judiciary in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has controlled since forcefully taking over the small coastal enclave in 2007.

Meanwhile, Hamas denounced the PA’s decision. “Hamas rejects any postponement of the elections and is insistent that they be held,” a statement on Hamas’s official website read, adding, “Hamas considers the government decision to postpone the elections…an evasion of electoral rights for the benefit of Fatah’s partisan interests.”

Most Palestinians — some 76 perecent — were in favor of holding the elections at the same time in both Yehudah and Shomron and Gaza on October 8, according to an Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) poll sampling of 1,200 persons in September.