Voter Registration Commences in Gaza, West Bank

GAZA, February 11, 2013 (WAFA) – Voter registration began Monday in the Gaza Strip, six months after Hamas, which rules the Strip, has suspended them, according to the chairman of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) Hanna Nasir.

He told reporters in Gaza that 256 registration centers have opened in the Gaza Strip and another 373 centers opened in the West Bank to allow voters who have not yet registered to do that.

Nasir said that the number of registered voters in the West Bank and Gaza now stands at over 1.5 million, or 68.5% of the total number of eligible voters, with 73% of them found in the West Bank.

He said the percentage of registered voters decreased in the Gaza Strip from 84% in 2007, the year Hamas took over it, to 62% due to CEC’s inability to update the voter registry for six years.

According to the estimations of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are now 720,229 unregistered voters nationwide; 388,000 of which are in the West Bank and 332,000 in Gaza.

The highest registration turnout was in the Tulkarm district, which stood at 91.5% and the lowest was in the North Gaza district, which stood at 59%.

The registration process, which will continue for one week, will target voters who turned 17 years of age, as well as unregistered voters and those who wish to update their registration data, said Nasir.

Following the end of registration, the CEC will need 4 to 6 weeks to finish data entry of new registrants and prepare the final voters’ list that will be ready for any upcoming elections, he added.

Source: WAFA News