Elections in Palestinian West Bank Testing Ground for Fatah Party

Palestinians are choosing mayors and local councils in communities across the West Bank, a rare chance to cast ballots after more than a decade without presidential or legislative elections.

Tribal loyalties often trump party affiliation at the local level, but Saturday’s vote is also seen as a test for the embattled, nepotism-tainted Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Even without the participation of the rival Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, Fatah is expected to face stiff challenges from some independent candidates with large tribal backing.

Elections commission spokesman Fared Tomallah says some 390 councils are being chosen, with 145 of them being contested by multiple candidates. Results will be announced Sunday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says Hamas prevented its members from taking part in the election.

Source: Associated Press