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Hamas to request municipal elections in Gaza for 1st time in 18 years

IANS | September 28, 2023 10:55 AM

GAZA: The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is planning to send an official request to the Palestinian Authority to hold municipal elections in Gaza for the first time in 18 years, a Palestinian official said.

Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said on Wednesday in a press statement that the group had agreed with all other Palestinian factions to send a message to the government in Ramallah demanding to hold municipal elections in Gaza.

Qassem's remarks came after a meeting between Palestinian factions, including Hamas, and a delegation from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) to discuss the possibility of holding elections in Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We agreed with all other factions that we have reached the appropriate level to hold local elections to allow our people to choose their legislative representatives, " the spokesman said.

Hisham Khalil, executive director of the CEC, told journalists that the commission had been informed of the full agreement of the Palestinian factions to hold local elections in Gaza as soon as possible.

He said the delegation would convey the "positive attitude" to the Palestinian government in Ramallah to set a date soon for holding local elections in Gaza.

In August, Hamas announced for the first time its efforts to hold municipal elections in Gaza, receiving no comment from the Palestinian government.

Meanwhile, Munther al-Hayek, Fatah spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement that his party was ready to hold municipal elections in Gaza, just as those held in the West Bank.

The last local elections in the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2.3 million people, were held in 2005.

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