Hamas to allow local polls to be held in Gaza Strip

By Ola Atallah

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said Friday that it would allow municipal elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.

“We affirm the importance of conducting local elections in the [Israeli-occupied] West Bank and Gaza Strip,” Hamas — which has governed the strip since 2007 — said in a statement.

“We will spare no effort to facilitate the holding of these elections, in line with the interests of the Palestinian people,” the group asserted.

While Hamas did not explicitly announce its intention to participate in the polls, an informed source close to the group — who spoke to Anadolu Agency anonymously due to restrictions on talking to media — said that Hamas may support certain “tribal or technocrat” electoral lists.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Central Election Commission, for its part, welcomed Hamas’ decision to allow elections in the coastal enclave.

“Commission Chairman Hanna Nasser will visit the Gaza Strip on Sunday to meet with Palestinian factions there and inform them of the commission’s plan to hold local elections concurrently in the West Bank and Gaza,” read a commission statement.

Palestinian municipal elections will be held on Oct. 8 across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Council of Ministers announced Tuesday.

“The government has tasked the electoral commission and local government ministries with preparing for the polls,” the council said in a statement.

Additional details about the electoral process, it added, would be announced in coming days.

The last Palestinian municipal elections were held in 2012 in 340 constituencies of the West Bank.