Palestinian Elections, the story thus far…

For the first time in 16 years Palestinians will participate in parliamentary elections

Jerusalem24 – Mohammad Hamayel – After the announcement for General Palestinian Legislative elections, the Palestinian scene has been eventful. The announcement has come after years of a gridlock between the Fatah and Hamas movements after a breakthrough by two former cellmates from the different political factions, Jibril Rajoub the current secretary of Fatah and Saleh Arouri deputy head of the Hamas political bureau.

The agreement was encouraged through a commitment by the PLO factions for the need of Palestinian National Unity. Many Palestinians, especially Palestinian youth, are excited for the upcoming elections. Many of whom never participated in an election before. However, the first hurdle that faced the elections was talks of a joint-list that included both Fatah and Hamas, which was faced by a lot of criticism from civil society as well as members of Fatah. The harshest criticism within Fatah had come from a member of Fatah’s Central Committee member Nasser al-Qudwa, who held no punches back calling the joint list “opportunist and self-serving.”

Nasser al-Qudwa speaks during an interview in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 5, 2021. (Source: REUTERS)

Al-Qudwa would later form his own parliament bloc for the elections, named the National Democratic Forum. This would eventually lead to his suspension from the Fatah Movement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who would also later resign Al-Qudwa from the Yasser Arafat Foundation where he was Chairman of the Board of Directors. A move that was considered illegitimate by some as it touches upon the independence of the foundation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, January 29, 2017. (Photo Credit: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI)

While Hamas and other groups formed their own parliamentary blocs, drama occurred within the Fatah movement as groups splintered from the main movement into different parliament lists. However, the biggest controversy surrounded Palestinian prisoner Marwan alBarghouthi. A Fatah movement veteran, Barghouthi has put together his own independent list of candidates to run in the Palestinian legislative elections, another turn of events in the Fatah movement. His decision comes after the Fatah Central Committee was unable to agree with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the selection of candidates. AlBarghouthi later allied himself with al-Qudwa’s parliament list.

Marwan Barghouthi (Source: AP)

As the deadline for registering the parliament list has ended, 36 different lists have announced their nomination. A sign of both eagerness to participate in the first meaningful Palestinian elections in 16 years, as well as a sign of issues that the Palestinians have been facing for the past several years. The lists are from different Palestinian factions as well as different independents.

A high voter turn-out is expected in these elections, as the Central Elections Committee sad that the voter registration ended with 93% of eligible voters in the West Bank, and 96% of them registered in the Gaza Strip. While some polls expect the Fatah movement to make solid gains in the elections, the recent fracturing of the Fatah movement’s electoral lists no true poll can be certain.

 

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