Voters in Bethlehem, Ramallah and 11 other nearby localities were preparing on Sunday (30 April) to go to the polls on Tuesday (2 May) in municipal elections which could give them more autonomy.
Voters in Bethlehem, Ramallah and 11 other nearby localities were preparing on Sunday (30 April) to go to the polls on Tuesday (2 May) in municipal elections which could give them more autonomy. The voting is the second stage of municipal elections being held throughout the West Bank of Jordan. Polling in Samaria, the northern sector, was held at the end of march.
Sometime after the elections, the Israeli military government reportedly hopes to be able to withdraw from municipal affairs on the West Bank, turning local matters entirely over to newly-elected councils.
The elections are the first for nine years. And on Tuesday, about 13,000 electors will be voting for 194 candidates seeking 109 seats. The voting will be in accordance with Jordanian law with the franchise restricted to males over the age of 21 who are property-owners and tax-payers.
Unlike the first stage of the elections, when Arab guerrilla pressure was being brought to bear, canvassing has been progressing with few reports of intimidation. But in Ramallah, residents said they'd received threatening letters signed by a guerrilla organisation calling on them to boycott the elections.
But generally, walls are covered with election posters and campaigning has been heavy -- particularly in Ramallah.
Political issues have been excluded from the campaign and candidates have concentrated on such local mattes as welfare, new water works, electricity supply and jobs.