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Ballot booths opened across the West Bank on Saturday as Palestinians began voting in local elections, in what is the first time they have gone to the polls since 2006.
Just over half a million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots at 900 polling stations across the territory which are open for 12 hours from 7:00 am (05:00 GMT), said the Central Elections Commission (CEC).
The last time the Palestinians went to the polls was in January 2006 for general elections decisively won by the Islamist Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and which is refusing to take part in Saturday's vote.
Local elections were last held in 2005.
Nearly 4,700 candidates –– 25 percent of them women –– are running on 300 lists, vying for 1,000 local council seats. In the southern city of Hebron, one of the lists is all-female.
The long-delayed vote will take place in just 91 of the West Bank's 353 municipalities.
In another 181 localities, candidates were appointed unopposed, with elections to be held in the remaining areas at a date which has yet to be set, the CEC said.
For the first time, the commission announced that voters must leave mobile phones and cameras at the entrance to the polling stations.
In the absence of Hamas candidates, the competition pits Fatah against independents and members of various leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
It will be essentially be a test of discipline and the balance of forces within Fatah, which has already threatened to expel some of its members who are running on rival groups' tickets.