Candidates for 84 local councils in the West Bank
started their election campaigns as in scheduled by the high committee
for local councils’ elections.

The elections will be held on May 5, therefore, the campaign will end
24 hours prior to that according to the election law, the committee
stated in a press released published on Thursday.

413 candidates are competing for 118 among them 67 women in the 84
councils, in the second stage of the local councils’ elections.

The first stage was concluded in January in which Hamas candidates had a strong showing.

This would be the first time the Palestinians enjoy local elections
since 1976.  Israel did not allow elections.  The Palestinian
authority appointed interim councils in most of the areas in 2000.

The Palestinians will start preparing for the parliamentarian election
on July 19, after it was approved by the Palestinian Legislative
Council two days ago.

Earlier this year, Palestinians elected their president for the second
time in less than 10 years.  In 1996, the late Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat was elected President of the Palestinian Authority. 
Following Arafat’s mysterious death in November 2004, Palestinians
elected Mahmoud Abbas President in January 2005.