A day before electoral registration was due to start in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas government announced on Monday it was calling off the process due to repression of its members in the West Bank.Anyone surprised? Anyone at all?
The movement also cited the failure to begin registration for elections to the Palestine Liberation Organization parliament as a second reason for suspending registration in Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the situation in the West Bank contradicts what was agreed in order to proceed with the reconciliation process between his party and Fatah, which governs the West Bank.
Regional director of the Central Elections Commission Jameel Al Khalidi confirmed that they have suspended Gaza operations after receiving an official letter from Hamas.
The commission was set to open registration centers across Gaza between July 3 and 14, the first such initiative to update the registers since the last local elections were held in January 2005.
Electoral registration was slated as the first step to implementing the long-stalled reconciliation deal between the factions signed in May 2011.
Hamas' notice it is suspending voter registration once again dashes hopes the parties will fulfill their commitment to new elections in order to unite Gaza and the West Bank.
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