Palestinian court suspends local elections in West Bank and Gaza Strip
Sept.8, West Bank: The Palestinian high court in Ramallah has ordered the suspension of local elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip scheduled for October 8.
The ruling on Thursday follows court submissions by Hamas in Gaza against party lists drawn up by Fatah.
The elections would have been the first democratic exercise in the Palestinian territories in a decade but cannot go ahead after disputes between the rival Fatah and Hamas groups over candidate lists as well as the inability to hold the vote in East Jerusalem, which has been annexed by Israel, reports said.
The presiding judge of the Ramallah court said in his ruling: "Elections can't take place in one place and not the other." He further said: "The election can't take place in Jerusalem and its neighbourhoods. Also, there are problems with the formation of courts in Gaza ... Therefore, the court decides to stop the election."
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, boycotted the last Palestinian municipal elections in 2012, but was due to participate this year.
Fatah and Hamas have not contested an election since 2006 parliamentary polls, which Hamas won.
The dispute underlines the legal and political divisions between Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which governs in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.
The court will hold another session to consider the issue on September 21.
The Oslo Times International News Network