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Palestinian election commission starts updating voter registers, paving way for elections

The Palestinian election commission has started to update voter registers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to pave the way for new elections — and reconciliation between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions.

Monday's registration drive is taking place both in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which is governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

The election commission says voter registration will continue until Feb. 18.

Palestinian law requires elections to be held within three months of completing the registration drive. But no date has been set and disagreements between Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly prevented elections from taking place in the past.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-led forces of President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. The rift is a major obstacle to Palestinian independence.