Palestinian Local Elections 2011
On Tuesday, 8 February 2011, the Palestinian Authority issued a renewed call for local elections to be held on 9 July 2011. The call follows last June’s Cabinet decision to cancel elections and the subsequent High Court ruling in December that the cancellation was, indeed, illegal.
The issue of local elections extends back to the leadership of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat when, in 2004, the Palestinian Authority’s Cabinet called for local elections to occur throughout the following year. Due to operational and political challenges, however, the elections were never finalized and, ultimately, over 100 council elections were indefinitely postponed.
Palestinian local council term limits are four years, and new elections should have been conducted by 23 January 2009. Cognizant of this, the Cabinet changed the status of all of the councils into “caretaker councils”1 and, subsequently, in February 2010, the Cabinet called for local elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza on 17 July 2010. However, the elections were ultimately cancelled just before the close of the nomination period, as it became apparent that the largest Palestinian faction, Fatah, encountered difficulties in producing list of candidates.