Palestinian PM hails high rate of voter registration for upcoming elections

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said on Wednesday that the high rate of voter registration reflects “the eagerness of the voters, mainly the youths, to participate in the Palestinian political process.”

“Youths want to exercise their right to choose their representatives and shape their future by participating in the democratic process based on the foundations of freedom, political pluralism and national partnership,” Ishtaye said in a press statement sent to Xinhua.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian Central Elections Commission announced that a total of 2.6 million voters have been registered so far, including 421,000 new registrants, for the upcoming general elections.

This represents 93.3 percent of the 2.8 million eligible voters in the Palestinian territories, it said.

In a decree issued in mid-January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the 2021 general elections will include legislative elections to be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on Aug. 31.

The last legislative elections in the Palestinian territories were held in late 2006 when Hamas won a majority of 74 of the 132 seats. Abbas was elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.

The internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah began in 2007 when Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah. Since then, the Palestinian territories have been split into a Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and a Fatah-dominated West Bank