Palestinian Authority: local elections in July

The Palestinian Authority has announced plans to hold municipal elections this summer.

If it goes ahead, the vote will be the first opportunity Palestinians have had to elect their leaders since 2006 and the first local elections in six years.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for ruling party Fatah, said the vote had been scheduled for July 9, more than five years after Hamas won the popular vote in legislative elections.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the vote last July because Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, refused to take part.

Mr Khatib said that the intention was to hold elections in both the West Bank and Gaza. But he said that if Hamas continued to block the election in Gaza, one would still take place in the West Bank.

Last updated: 12:19pm, February 8 2011