Palestinians from the occupied West Bank began voting on Saturday (11) in municipal elections marked by a boycott of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which holds power in Gaza, in protest against the indefinite postponement of parliamentary and presidential elections.
No presidential or legislative elections have been held in the Palestinian territories for 15 years. The last municipal elections took place in 2017, which were also boycotted by Hamas.
Of the 367 cities in the West Bank that entered polling stations, 60 did not have any candidate, and in another 162 cities only one list was submitted. Thus, there will be proper elections only in 154 municipalities.
Municipal elections will be held in two phases, and in March 2022 the second will be held for cities.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Central Elections Committee, Farid Taam Allah, told AFP that polling was opened in all the planned cities.
Polling stations will be open until 7 p.m. local time, with a potential number of 405,000 voters, according to the Electoral Commission.
The elections are “politically irrelevant because they are taking place in small towns, not large” and “sterile” in the absence of Hamas, according to political analyst Jihad Harb.
The armed group, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, boycotted the vote in protest against President Mahmoud Abbas, who has indefinitely postponed parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for this year.
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