Israel urged to allow Palestinians to participate in polls

Ramallah, Mar 30 (IANS): Palestine has urged Israel to allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate in the upcoming general elections scheduled for May 22.

Several Palestinian factions said in a joint statement issued on Monday that the right of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate in the general elections "is inalienable", reports Xinhua news agency.

"The Palestinians in East Jerusalem have the right to effectively participate in the democratic process through running for and voting in the elections," the statement said.

It called on the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC) to assume its responsibilities in completing the electoral registration and to ensure that the Palestinians in East Jerusalem would cast their ballots at polling stations.

Meanwhile, Palestine's Jerusalem Minister Fadi al-Hadami said in a separate statement that Palestinians are granted the right to hold elections in East Jerusalem according to an agreement signed between Israel and Palestine.

"Under the agreement, we have the right to vote and stand as candidates. We do not take permission from Israel to hold elections. On the contrary, we ask it, as an occupying power, not to obstruct our participation in the elections," he said.

Earlier in the day, the PCEC said in a statement that 15 electoral lists were already registered to race in the upcoming legislative elections, including the electoral list of the Hamas Islamic movement.

In January, President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the 2021 general elections will include the legislative elections on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the elections of the Palestinian National Council, the highest decision-making body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on August 31.

The Palestinians insist on holding the general elections in all Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians in East Jerusalem participated in the last presidential and legislative elections held in 2005 and 2006.



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