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Does Abbas really want to hold local council elections?

The Palestinian government approved a decree law to establish courts to examine local council elections to overcome the controversy that caused the postponement of local elections in October 2016, but Hamas has voiced its objection to the move.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) attends Fatah congress in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman - RTSTVZ5
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RAMALLAH, West Bank — Talk about the intention of the government in Ramallah to hold local council elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has resurfaced in the Palestinian street, after a draft decree law to establish an elections court to examine all challenges and legal issues relating to the local council elections was approved Jan. 3. Indeed, the draft decree law was referred to President Mahmoud Abbas to be duly promulgated and published in the official gazette.

The government's move is an attempt to overcome the dispute that led to the postponement of the local council elections that were scheduled to take place on Oct. 8, 2016. Several lawyers had submitted appeals before the High Court of Justice in Ramallah challenging the legitimacy of the Gaza courts and judiciary tasked with evaluating local elections, following a decision issued by the Court of First Instance in the Gaza Strip disqualifying a number of Fatah electoral lists. The High Court decided to hold the elections in the West Bank and cancel them in Gaza, but the government, which sought to hold elections both in Gaza and the West Bank, refused to do so on Oct. 4 and postponed the local council elections for four months.

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