British elections may fall on Jewish holiday of Sukkot, community leaders warn


(JTA) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking an early election on Oct. 14, which falls on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Johnson will aim to have elections held then if lawmakers block the option of leaving the European Union without a deal, a senior government source told Reuters on Monday.

What it means: Due to religious restrictions, observant Jews would not be able to vote in person or participate on the day of elections, the Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote in a statement Tuesday. Sukkot this year begins at sundown on Oct. 13.

The British pullout, or Brexit, the board added, “means that there is very little flexibility over dates.” In case this materializes, “we will be encouraging everyone affected to apply for a postal vote so that their democratic rights are not affected,” the board said.

Lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday on a plan that would give members of Parliament who are opposed to Johnson’s Brexit strategy control of the parliamentary agenda. They then would seek to pass legislation to force him to ask the prime minister for a further delay to Brexit.

The Reuters source said that Johnson, if challenged in Parliament, would take the first step to calling an election — presenting a motion calling for one.

The deadline for Brexit is Oct. 31.

Johnson succeeded Theresa May in July. She resigned because the majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons rejected her attempts at a negotiated divorce between her kingdom and the European Union.

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