Abbas Plans to Purge City Councils

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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas hopes to replace Hamas-controlled municipalities and councils to ensure an additional year in office after his term ends on January 9.

The ongoing feud between rival Palestinian factions makes it unlikely that officials will reach an agreement on holding new elections for municipal councils, many of whose terms end this month.

"Hamas is not going to allow any kind of election in the Gaza Strip," a senior PA official told Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh.

"Therefore we don't believe there's any need to talk about holding new elections," he said.

The solution according to Fatah-affiliated PA officials is to form transitional municipal councils until new elections.

PA Minister for Local Government Ziad al-Bandak said he is authorized to appoint committees to replace the municipal councils.

A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the PA's plan to replace elected municipal councils is tantamount to a coup against the elected representatives.

While Abbas is determined to extend his tenure by a year, Hamas officials have said they would no longer recognize him as president once his term ends and plan to appoint an interim president until new elections.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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