Supreme Court annuls PA decision to postpone local elections 13Dec10 December 14, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  13 December 2010

The Palestinian Supreme Court in Ramallah on Monday annulled a decision by the Palestinian Authority cabinet to postpone local elections.

On June 10, the PA indefinitely postponed municipal elections scheduled for July 17 following a closed-door cabinet meeting, a move condemned by Palestinian factions and civil society groups as undemocratic and illegal.

The postponement came on the set deadline for the submission of electoral lists to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission.

At the time, the Ministry of Local Government said the decision to postpone came in response to the demands of some Arab nations and a number of “friends in the world.”

The calls from abroad advised the government to postpone “in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity,” the ministry said.

In a session Monday morning, the Supreme Court ruled the June 10 decision illegal, and called on the government to appoint a new date for local elections.

Head of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said the judge’s decision was a “democratic victory,” and marked an important day in Palestine and for the restoration of democratic life.

“The main priority is to now determine a new date for local elections and that is to take place not only in the West Bank, but also in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Spokesman for electoral list “Homeland for all” Omar Nazal told Ma’an the court’s decision reflected the integrity and independence of the Palestinian judiciary, and confirmed its ability to veto any illegal resolution.

The ruling confirmed the illegitimacy of the PA’s decision to postpone elections, he added.

The Palestinian People’s Party also welcomed the court’s ruling. General Secretary Bassam Al-Salhi said the decision strengthened the role of the judiciary and stopped the executive committee monopolizing authority by exploiting the national division.

He called on the government to respect the court’s decision and to hold local elections immediately.

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