Under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority’s Cabinet called the 2004 local elections, managed under the authority of the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) in three (3) stages throughout 2005. However, because of operational and political challenges, local elections were held in four (4) stages on six (6) different dates and were never finalized; elections in over 100 councils were postponed indefinitely.
The term of Palestinian local councils is limited to four (4) years, and because the elections were held on different dates, the terms of local councils did not expire at the same time. However, since the law provides the possibility of scheduling elections earlier than the expiration of the four (4) year term, but not later than one (1) month after the expiration, the local elections should have been conducted by 23 January 2009.
Acknowledging the expiration of the local councils’ term, the Cabinet changed the status of all of the councils into “caretaker councils.” Subsequently, in February 2010, the Cabinet called for local elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza on 17 July 2010.
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 MoLG created the Higher Commission for Local Elections (HCLE)--a body operating under the MoLG and lead by a 30 member commission appointed by President Arafat-- to organize and conduct elections.
 This is contrary to the elections law which requires elections for all councils to be held on the same day.
 The four stages held: Stage I on 23 Dec 2004 and 27 Jan 2005, Stage II on 9 May 2005, Stage III on 29 Sep 2005, Stage IV on 15 Dec 2005.