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Palestinians set vote timetable despite Hamas rejection

AFP , Monday 6 Feb 2017
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The Palestinian electoral commission announced Monday a calendar for delayed municipal elections, despite Gaza rulers Hamas rejecting them.

The commission said on its website that voter registration would end on 25 February, while registration of candidates will take place for 10 days from March 28.

The Palestinian Authority said last month that vote will be held on May 13th simultaneously in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which the PA controls.

But the Islamist Hamas movement which runs Gaza has criticised the plans and said that the new timetable "strengthens divisions".

The rival parties have not contested an election since 2006 parliamentary polls, which Hamas won -- sparking a conflict that led to near civil war in Gaza the following year.

Hamas boycotted the most recent municipal elections in 2012, which took place only in the West Bank.

Last year a timetable was agreed for elections in both Palestinian territories, but they collapsed amid political squabbling and the elections were delayed.

Multiple attempts at political reconciliation between the two sides have failed, though both express willingness to continue working towards it.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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