At least 874 electoral lists have registered to compete in Palestinian municipal polls slated for October, including 787 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and 87 in the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to Palestine’s official electoral commission, Anadolu Agency reported.
In a Monday statement, the commission said 867 registration applications had been approved so far, while another seven had been rejected after failing to meet the necessary legal requirements.
The commission added, however, that rejected lists had the right to appeal the decision within three days.
It went on to explain that list representatives could withdraw their respective lists’ candidacy requests until Sept. 23, “but existing lists cannot be amended and cannot withdraw or add new candidates”.
Palestinian municipal polls will be held on Oct. 8 across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, boycotted 2012 municipal polls due to ongoing differences between it and the West Bank-based Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
from his side, Political Bureau Member of Hamas, Khalil al-Hayya, urged on Monday evening the PA to cease its threats against independent candidates, vowing that Hamas will work hard for the success of local elections.
“If such a threat series is not over, the entire electoral process might go up in the air.” He held the PA responsible for any recklessness or attempt to strike at the transparency of the electoral process.
Al-Hayya confirmed that dozens of candidates have been subjected to frequent harassment by the PA security apparatuses and Israeli occupation forces across the occupied West Bank. “We have a list of 60 candidates who have faced abduction and threats from the Israeli occupation and the PA apparatuses for reasons that have to do with the projected elections,” the Hamas leader added.
He said Hamas will submit a protest memorandum to the Central Elections Commission and watchdog groups over the threats and the arbitrary arrests against independent candidates. The PA forces threatened to freeze the salary of the wife of a Hamas-backed candidate in case her husband does not step down, al-Hayya stated. He vowed that Hamas will try every possible effort for the success of the ballots and for the establishment of a real national partnership.
He slammed underway attempts to rescind legitimacy from the blockaded Gaza Strip, dubbing such “politicized” attempts proofs of Fatah’s fears from the results of the ballot votes. Al-Hayya added that the Charter of Honor signed by all national factions had assigned the Interior Ministry and Judiciary system in Gaza with the mission of supervising elections in the enclave. He referred to a letter from the PA government and presidency promising the transparency of the electoral process.
This time around, however, Hamas plans to back candidates who will run on a list of “technocrats” with expertise in municipal affairs — especially the provision of public services — and prominent tribal figures.