After 18 years, Hamas and Palestinian factions 'ready' for municipal elections in Gaza
Hamas's remarks came during a meeting between Palestinian factions and the Ramallah-based delegation of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) to discuss the possibility of finally holding elections in Gaza.
During the meeting, Hamas and other Palestinian factions stressed that the present time is "appropriate" for local elections and "allow our people to choose their legislative representatives".
Consequently, Hamas and Palestinian factions plan to send a formal message to the Palestinian Authority to begin preparations for that process in Gaza.
Hazem Qassem, spokesperson of Hamas, said in a press statement sent to The New Arab that "Hamas and all factions in Gaza are ready to facilitate all ways to hold the elections."
"We will accept the results of the elections," he added. "We have to be united on the ground to choose the correct ways to fight our enemy everywhere."
For his part, Hisham Kahil, Executive Director of the (CEC), acknowledged to journalists that the election commission was informed of the agreement by the Palestinian factions to hold local elections in Gaza "as soon as possible".
Officially, the Palestinian cabinet in Ramallah has a legal mandate to call for holding elections per the elections law. At the same time, Hamas, being the "defacto power" in Gaza, can decide whether to hold elections or not.
Since 2007, Hamas has prevented several attempts to hold an election, sparking anger by Palestinian voters in Gaza for being denied the right to vote in local elections compared to voters in the occupied West Bank, which has had regular elections over the years.