RAMALLAH — The Palestinian government in the West Bank Tuesday said it would hold local elections in October across the Palestinian territories, sparking anger from Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
“The Palestinian cabinet approved during its meeting today, chaired by prime minister Salam Fayyad, conducting local elections on October 20, 2012 in all local councils in the homeland,” a statement said after the meeting.
“The cabinet requested from the Central Elections Commission to begin preparations for the elections on the set date, and mandated the local governance minister to periodically update the cabinet on those elections,” the statement said.
A Palestinian official earlier told AFP on condition of anonymity that local elections would be held in October. The vote will be to elect new officials at the municipal and local council level.
Hamas responded angrily on Tuesday to the call for local elections, with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denouncing it as “a Palestinian Authority escalation to block the reconciliation.”
“This decision, if it is official, contravenes the reconciliation deal, and deals a blow to it,” he told AFP.
And Taher Al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, warned that “the Ramallah government’s announcement setting a date for local elections... is a violation of the national consensus and the reconciliation agreement.” — Agencies