Palestinian Authority launches probe into tampering with polling centers
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – not saying anything about the elections, but working behind the scenes?
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Some Palestinians said they believed the PA security forces were responsible for the changes as part of an attempt to prevent voters from casting their ballots.
The Palestinian Central Elections Commission said on Thursday it filed a complaint with the Palestinian Authority prosecutor-general after it discovered that the locations of polling stations have been changed without the knowledge of voters.
Some Palestinians said they believed PA security forces were responsible for the changes as part of an attempt to prevent voters from casting their ballots.
A PA official denied the allegation, and blamed hackers for changing the addresses. The official said that an investigation has been launched to uncover the identities of the perpetrators.
Hamas called for an immediate investigation and accused “influential parties” in the West Bank of tampering with the electoral process.
The CEC said on Wednesday that 93% of eligible voters have registered for the general election.
The parliamentary election is scheduled to take place on May 22, while the presidential election is set to be held on July 31. The election for the Palestinian National Council, the PLO’s legislative body, has been set for August 31.
In the past week, several registered voters complained that the location of their polling stations were changed without their knowledge.
Most of the complaints came from Hebron, which has long been considered a stronghold of Hamas.
According to the CEC, the change of the addresses of the polling centers was carried out by people who do not belong to it.
The CEC said that it was working “to return [the voters] to their original polling centers.”
Expressing concern over the integrity of the electoral process, the CEC said it immediately filed a complaint with the PA prosecutor-general and demanded that legal measures be taken against those responsible for changing the addresses of the polling centers.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem accused “influential parties” in the West Bank of tampering with the electoral process. He hinted that the PA security forces were responsible. “This is a dangerous sign and a clear violation” of the agreement reached between the Palestinian factions in Cairo earlier this month, which prohibits the [PA] security forces from interfering with the election, the Hamas spokesman added.
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed fear that the complaints marked the beginning of an attempt to influence the results of the elections.
The PFLP called for a thorough investigation into the incident and punishing those responsible.
The Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party) also described the incident as dangerous, and said it does not bode well for the integrity of the upcoming elections.