Last updated: 12 April, 2013

Palestinian voter registration termed a success

The Palestinian elections commission on Friday released the results of what it termed a successful drive to register more voters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“The commission is ready to carry out elections if the order is issued by the presidency for a date to be set,” Central Elections Commission chief Hanna Nasser told president Mahmud Abbas, according to a statement.

It was unclear, however, when a vote could take place.

The results showed a marked increase in voters on the electoral register, which had not been updated since 2006 legislative elections.

In February, election officials extended by two days the process of updating the electoral rolls in Gaza and the West Bank to allow more people to register.

Voter registration was delayed for years due to a long-running dispute between the Hamas rulers of Gaza and its Fatah rival which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

It is a key part of preparations for legislative and presidential elections called for under the terms of a reconciliation deal signed in 2011 but which has never been implemented.

Fatah welcomed the CEC’s announcement it had completed voter registration as an important step towards “ending division” between it and Hamas, spokesman Ahmed Assaf told AFP.

Fatah central committee member Azzam al-Ahmed said “in theory Abbas can now begin consulting political forces to agree on a date for elections.”

The total number of voters registered now stands at 1,861,211, CEC figures showed, representing 82.1 percent of the electorate.

That percentage stood at 69.1 at the last count.

Of the total number of voters, 1,090,575 are based in the West Bank and 770,636 in the Gaza Strip.