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Will Palestinian local elections courts be established?

The Ministry of Local Governance has suggested the formation of local elections courts to prevent the Courts of First Instance from ruling on cases related to local elections.
Palestinian policemen stand guard outside the headquarters of  the Central Elections Commission in the West Bank town of El Bireh August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman  - RTX2LI47
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On Oct. 3, the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice suspended all preparations for local elections in the Gaza Strip due to what it ruled to be the illegality of the Gaza courts. On Oct. 4, the government issued a decision to freeze the elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for four months. These rulings have now paved the way for a proposal to bypass the Courts of First Instance in the provinces; these courts specialize in the examination of challenges against candidates, as stipulated in Article 13 of the 2005 local elections law.

The Courts of First Instance in the provinces have been the most prominent point of disagreement in the cancellation of the Oct. 8 elections. On Sept. 8, the Courts of First Instance in the Gaza Strip rejected five Fatah electoral lists. This angered Fatah, which then refused to recognize courts with Hamas-appointed judges as legal. Yet Fatah and all other Palestinian factions had signed a code of honor prior to the start of the electoral process, stipulating that Palestinian parties shall “abide by the rulings of the Palestinian courts [of first instance], in terms of the electoral process.”

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