The Palestinian Ministerial Council in the West Bank decided to delay that local council elections scheduled for July 17, until further notice. The Council said that a new elections date will be set later on.It is worth mentioning that June 10 was the deadline for all candidates to submit their applications.

Bassam Salhi, Secretary-General of the Palestinian People Party, said that the elections should be held on their scheduled time, July 17, and refused delaying or cancelling them.

The Palestinian Ministry of Local Government, said that the delay came upon requests from Arab countries and several other countries, and added that the delay is meant to enable the success of international efforts aiming at lifting the blockade on Gaza in order to achieve unity.

The ministry added the government employees who resigned in order to run in the elections will be allowed back to their jobs. This includes employees of the Ministry of Local Government, security personnel and other government employees.

Khalid Al Qawasmi, Minister of Local Government, told the Ma’an Radio that the delay comes amidst regional and Arabic efforts to help the Palestinians achieve unity and reconciliation, as the elections, if held under the current conditions, will only be held in the West Bank without Gaza.

The Hamas movement, although objected to elections under the current conditions, said that the delay stems from conflicts within Fateh movement, and that the initial decision to hold the election violated all efforts to achieve unity.

Hamas spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, stated that Hamas did not ask the rival Fateh party to delay the elections.

Barhoum added that, whether the elections were held or not, Hamas will not participate in them, and will not recognize their outcome.

He said that the elections should be held after achieving national unity and reconciliation.

Palestinian Legislator, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, said that the decision to delay the elections contradicts the basis of democracy, and that its justifications are unconvincing.

Barghouthi added that the Ministerial Council did not provide any justifications for the decision, and that it undermines the rights of the Palestinian people to choose their representatives.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also slammed the decision along with independent candidates.