“It is in the national interest of the Palestinian people that when such elections take place, they be organized both in the West Bank and Gaza,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in a statement issued by his office (UNSCO) today. Earlier in August, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process had said that he was encouraged by the preparations for the polls across the occupied West Bank and Gaza – the first such concurrent elections in a decade. The elections were scheduled to take place on 8 October. “Local elections, conducted in line with established international standards, must contribute to advancing Palestinian reconciliation based on PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] principles as well as to ending the occupation and establishing a democratic, unified Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution,” noted Mr. Mladenov in the statement. He also called on all Palestinians to work together in good faith to overcome internal divisions and uphold democracy.