Palestinian local elections scheduled to be held in the West Bank on July 17 have been postponed indefinitely, officials said on Thursday. Hamas Islamists, who seized control of the Gaza Strip from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, had already said they would boycott the vote.
The Palestinian Authority said the vote was delayed so as not to compromise efforts to reconcile with Hamas, but, as Ynet reported earlier in the week, the delay is due to internal disagreement and division within Abbas' Fatah faction.
Fatah hasn’t been able to reach an agreement over the candidates for many of the municipalities and councils.
The Palestinian Central Committee failed in its efforts to reconcile the camps, and some fear Fatah's image might significantly be jeopardized over the internal rift.
Fatah also feared that Hamas supporters would back Fatah opponents. "We are concerned that in many places, especially where Fatah is weak and divided, the Hamas will tell its supporters to vote for our opponents, which will ensure Fatah's defeat in the elections," a PA official told Ynet a few days ago.
The Palestinian government backed Fatah's effort to postpone the elections despite the fact that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is not a member of the faction.
Reuters contributed to the report