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Hamas to Participate in Local Palestinian Elections

BICOM reports: Hamas has announced that it will field a full list of candidates in Palestinian local and municipal elections scheduled for October, in an apparent surprise for the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Hamas said that its list will be known as the National Technocrat Party and a statement explained that Hamas “sees the necessity and importance of holding local elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank”. The statement also pledged that Hamas would “work to facilitate and make the elections successful in a way that serves the interest of our people”.

According to YNet, the head of the Palestinian Central Elections Committee, located in Ramallah, travelled to Gaza to meet Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, to discuss exactly how a vote would be held in Gaza, which is under Hamas’s full control.

YNet speculates that Hamas, which did not participate in local elections in 2012, is interested in using the upcoming ballot as a barometer of support in the West Bank. There has been speculation that elections may soon be held for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), for the first time in ten years.

Hamas won a majority in the 2006 PLC vote, but the Fatah-controlled PA, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has not convened the forum since then.

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