Palestinian Elections

For 14 years, Palestinians have not participated in elections.

Written by: Dr. Dalal Areqat

For 14 years, Palestinians have not participated in elections. In light of the deterioration of the political situation, President Donald Trump’s policies, Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank and the Arab countries’ normalization agreements with Israel, the Palestinian leadership realized that it has very few options left!  Therefore, General-Secretaries of the Palestinian factions met in response to a call by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the beginning of this month. In a recent joint statement by Fatah and Hamas, after the conclusion of the meetings that took place in Istanbul, it was announced that the final and official announcement of national consensus will be made in a General-Secretaries meeting, to be held under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas, before the 1st of October. Within a week, there will be a second General-Secretaries meeting to approve mechanisms for implementation and follow-up on what has been agreed upon, of which include:

  1. The holding of elections within 6 months.
  2. The formation of a unified national committee to lead the comprehensive popular resistance.

Fatah, Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed that everyone will respect the results of the upcoming elections, regardless of their results, and within a week there will be a new meeting and setting of election dates, where the next Legislative Council will decide the strategic vision in which the Palestinian people will live. Furthermore, the President will issue a decision that invites the Central Elections Commission to start preparing for the elections. Although President Abbas informed them to do this a year ago, elections were not held for two reasons:

  1. Hamas’s failure to cooperate in holding elections in Gaza.
  2. Israel did not accept the holding of elections in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leadership’s position was that there will not be any elections without the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. There are several questions, including: After Hamas’s approval and the possibility of holding elections in the Gaza Strip, will Abbas and the factions’ leadership continue to hold elections if Israel refuses the holding of elections in Jerusalem? Will the countries of the world pressure Israel to facilitate and ensure an election process that guarantees Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem to exercise their political rights? Will the countries of the world accept or reject the results of the elections? Will holding elections achieve the democracy we aspire to? Will the factions nominate the youth category, such as those in their twenties and thirties? Will we witness a real representation of Palestinian women? Will it be just an electoral process that will lead to the renewal of the legitimacy of the existing system through a voting process?

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.

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