Hamas to Take Part in Local PA Re-votes Despite Official Boycott

New elections to be held Wednesday in four PA districts won by Hamas due to charges of fraud in original poll.

Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent
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Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent

Hamas members will participate in local election re-votes in four districts in the territories, despite the group's official boycott, sources close to the group said Tuesday. The sources said Hamas, which emerged victorious in all four districts, will motivate its voters to go to the polls.

The Palestinian Authority committee for local elections announced Tuesday morning that the re-votes will take place Wednesday as planned. The re-votes are being held in the districts due to suspicions of election fraud in the original vote, which was held at the beginning of May.

According to the head of the election committee, Firas Yari, the elections will be held despite the dispute between the Fatah and Hamas on the results of the earlier vote, and the refusal of Hamas to recognize Palestinian court decisions ordering re-votes be held.

An Egyptian delegation which tried in recent days to mediate between the Fatah and Hamas failed to bridge the gap as Fatah stuck to its demand to hold the re-vote and Hamas stuck to its refusal to recognize such a poll.

Three of the districts in which a re-vote will be held are in the Gaza strip - Rafah, Beit Lahia, and Al-Bureij. The fourth is Saniria, a village close to Jenin in the northern West Bank.

The re-votes will be held only in those polling stations in each district in which fraud was found. The only district in which the re-vote is expected to affect the results of the elections is Beit Lahia, in which the Hamas defeated Fatah by a slim margin. Hamas won eight of the 15 seats in the Beit Lahia local authority, with Fatah taking the other seven.

In the other districts, Hamas emerged in control of a large majority of the local authority seats, and negative results for Hamas in the re-vote are unlikely to switch the authorities to Fatah control.

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