PLO official: Local elections to take place in October
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian government in Ramallah is set to approve plans to hold municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in October 2011. PLO executive committee member Ghassan Shaka told Ma'an Thursday that consultations about the elections were held during a recent PLO Committee meeting and October 22 is understood to be the prescribed date for the elections to take place. "We hope that the elections will be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to translate national reconciliation into real action on the ground," Shaka said. It is reported that the Ramallah government will make the announcement following consultations with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other political factions. The date had been previously agreed upon but consensus must be reached among the Palestinian political factions. Local elections were set for July 2011 but were postponed until after the reconciliation agreement was signed. Local elections for the 315 local councils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were initially due to be held in July 2010. Rival political factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement on May 4, ending years of hostility after Hamas won 2006 elections and seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, leading to two separate administrations, with Fatah controlling the West Bank. The terms of the agreement, including the formation of an independent and joint government, have yet to be implemented after the scheduled June announcement in Cairo was postponed. The position of Prime Minister in the future unity government has been an impediment to progress in talks, with both factions unable to reach a consensus on a candidate.