The Palestinian Central Election Commission (PEC) said it was technically ready to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories, excluding Jerusalem.
The committee’s announcement came two days after Palestinian ِAuthority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech at the United Nations that he would call for general elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem upon his return to Ramallah.
The Executive Director of the Election Commission, Hisham Kahil, said that the number of citizens registered in the electoral lists as of March 2019 reached 2,202,738 voters, accounting for 85 percent of those eligible to vote.
But he noted that obstacles were hindering the work of the Commission in occupied Jerusalem, pointing out that the occupation forces were obstructing the update of voter records, “for purely political reasons”.
Observers expect Abbas to call for elections in the West Bank, including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. However, Israel is unlikely to allow Palestinian-led elections in Jerusalem because it would see them as prejudice to its sovereignty over the city.
Hamas said it was ready for full-scale general elections, including presidential, legislative and National Council elections. The movement underlined the need to agree on practical steps to guarantee the success of these elections and meet the serious challenges.
Fatah does not plan to hold elections in the PLO at the current time, a point that has been the subject of a long-running dispute with Hamas. Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah Central Committee, called on Hamas to end the split and participate in the general elections that Abbas will call for.
Most Palestinian factions have agreed to hold the elections, but emphasized the need for a prior consensus and an end to the dispute before they are launched.