Tension rises after Palestinian government postpones local-elections

Tension is rising between Palestinian factions after the Palestinian government in Ramallah decided to postpone local elections due to a court ruling. On September 8th, the Palestinian Supreme Court ruled that the local elections, originally scheduled for October 8th, could not go ahead after Hamas disputed party lists drawn up by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. But in its latest ruling earlier this week, the court said it “decided to implement a cabinet decision to hold elections in all local councils except for the Gaza Strip”.

The ruling, however, prompted the Palestinian government in the West Bank to suspend the election until further notice, after a committee recommendation suggested to do so until the matter was resolved. The move was swiftly condemned by Hamas as politically motivated, as polls indicate the Islamist organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, would win several regional councils currently under the rule of Abbas’s Fatah party.

“Hamas will contact the other Palestinians (political) parties, in order to put a strategy for how to face the unilateral decisions taken by Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and Fatah (political party) about the Palestinian issue. And to discuss how to face this dangerous decision about the elections and the democratic process,” said Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza.