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Local elections will be start of political reconciliation, says PA

Palestinian chief of Election Commissioner, Hanna Nasser meets with members of Hamas leaders in Gaza on February 15, 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]
Palestinian chief of Election Commissioner, Hanna Nasser meets with members of Hamas leaders in Gaza on February 15, 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, which is dominated by Fatah, has called for Hamas to take part in the local elections, saying that its rival's participation will be the start of the political reconciliation process, Quds Press reported on Tuesday.

The government, which is led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and controlled by PA and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas, noted that local elections would lead on to presidential, parliamentary and Palestinian National Council polls. It has announced that the local elections are to take place on 14 May, stressing that the decision was taken with the agreement of Abbas.

Read: PA announces timeline for 2017 local elections

In response, Hamas announced that it would not participate, considering the decision invalid as it actually "reinforces internal division." The Central Elections Commission submitted a letter to Hamdallah on Monday telling him that it is "impossible" to hold the elections in Gaza.

In October last year, the PA Supreme Court decided to go ahead with elections in the West Bank while cancelling those in the Gaza Strip after courts there ruled out several Fatah candidate lists due to alleged electoral violations. The government later postponed the elections without agreement with any of the Palestinian factions.

Hamas, which was not consulted over the election date, rejected the delay and blamed Fatah for sabotaging the democratic atmosphere in the Palestinian territories.

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