Where's Palestinian democracy???
Nobody has really noticed that local elections were canceled.
Most Palestinians accept the impossibility of holding presidential and parliamentary elections without first healing the division between the West Bank and Gaza. It is precisely because of this fact that all Palestinian political parties and civil society organizations, excluding Hamas, agreed on the vital importance of holding municipal elections on time. The only alternative would have been the appointment of new local councils by an executive authority, which itself is not approved by the PLC, thereby further depriving the people of the right to choose their representatives.
We saw local elections as a way of keeping the seeds of democratic principles and systems alive despite vicious internal disputes. Properly contested municipal elections would have been a means to remind each and every authority that they are accountable to the people. It was also intended to promote nonviolent means for resolving internal differences, by giving Palestinians an opportunity to express their interests through democratic means rather than the use of force.
The Hamas government prevented voter registration in Gaza, thus stopping elections from taking place there. At first, Palestinian Authority officials correctly decided to go forward with the elections in the West Bank, providing lengthy explanations for why they would not contradict reconciliation efforts. Many gave speeches lauding the role of local elections in building the state. However, it soon became clear that, though Hamas would boycott the election, Fatah would still face tough competition from unaligned, democratic parties. This was evident in all major cities, including Hebron, Ramallah, and Tulkarm.
Nevertheless, until the elections were canceled on June 10, it appeared that voting would go forward as scheduled. Voter registration took place, electoral lists were formed, observers were chosen -- and then, a few minutes before the candidate registration lists were to be closed, the government in the West Bank announced that it was postponing the election until further notice.
So, while the government in Gaza prevented local elections, the government in the West Bank canceled them. This has caused great dismay among the people, who never believed the Palestinian Authority's argument that the election was canceled for the sake of intra-Palestinian reconciliation.