Alwaght- After a set of compromising moves by some Arab states marked by normalization with Tel Aviv while the Israeli violations against the Palestinian regions continue, Palestine officials have unveiled a plan to hold general election.
Jabril al-Rajoub, a senior Fattah official, in an interview with Palestine’s official television station, said that this is the first time the decisions are made by Fattah independently and separate from any regional influence or pressure.
“We seek an internal partnership in the election. The Palestinians have agreed on partnership through the ballots. After the election, a structure for a national coalition government would lay, and we hope that all the Palestinian groups join the political system,” he said.
He continued that first a parliamentary election would be held, and then “National Palestinian Council” would be formed according to some mechanisms. “We have agreed now and nobody can block the election and revival of the political system and participation of all groups,” he asserted.
Election in Palestine
Due to failure to complete the political process, the election have not so far been held regularly.
Two important election were held for the Legislative Council and the Palestinian Authority.
The last Legislative election, or parliament, was held in 2006. The election was the second one to determine the lawmakers and West Bank and Gaza Strip and other regions took part. According to a law approved in June 2005, the parliament lawmakers increased from 88 to 132. Half of the seats are determined according to the percentage won by the party lists and the other half is determined according to the victory of individuals in each constituency.
In the 2006 election, Hamas, joining the race for the first time, secured 44.45 percent of the votes in its list and 41.37 percent in the constituencies to make the parliamentary majority with 74 seats. Fattah came second with 41.43 percent in its list and 36.96 percent in its constituencies, losing the majority it once held. A day after the election, Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei resigned from his post but was asked by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to lead caretaker administration till Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas formed his government as a replacement.
The first parliamentary election was held in 1996 and the next election was delayed as clashes with Israeli forces erupted, until 20006 that the Palestinians held their second election. Since then, no election have been held. Council sessions were not held since 2007 as Hamas and Fattah have been at loggerheads and some lawmakers were arrested by Israeli forces.
Palestine also held a presidential election for its the Authority, in 2005. In the election, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Abbas secured 62.03 percent of the vote, beating his independent rival Mustafa Barghouti. Aside from these three election, no election have been held so far in Palestine and the newly planned election comes after a long way the Palestinians have come in their disputes.
What are the obstacles ahead of election?
Although al-Rajoub has promised two election, one for parliament and one for the presidency, this is not the first time in the past years that the authorities vowed to hold election without realizing their promises.
Abbas, for example, in September 2019 in his United Nations General Assembly address announced that soon election would be held in West Bank, Gaza, and Al-Quds (Jerusalem). A year before he had made a similar promise to hold election within six months. However, he really has kept the Palestinians from holding their election over the past 14 years.
Israeli obstructions: The Israeli occupiers have always been one of the key obstacles ahead of the Palestinian election in the West Bank and elsewhere. Pieces of evidence show that the Israeli forces, especially in the occupied Al-Quds, several times set up roadblocks ahead of the vote. These constructions frustrate the efforts to organize election.
Palestinian internal differences: Differences among the Palestinian groups are a key hurdle ahead of the election. In 2016, election were scheduled but after a couple of days, they were canceled. At the time, the Ramallah court ruled in favor of a ban on election in Gaza allegedly because the legal aspects of vote were not respected there. The election only was held in West Bank. If the Palestinians unite, peaceful election are organizable both in West Bank and Gaza.
Ambiguity in election laws: Another obstacle is the ambiguous election laws and arrangement process. Palestine has so far several times modified its election law, with the last modification being in 2007 when Abbas approved a bill based on what is dubbed “Law Number 1”. The bill revoked a 2005 “Law Number 9.” According to the new law, anybody wishing to register as a candidate should vow commitment to all of the treaties and agreements signed by the PLO and recognize it as fully representative of the Palestinian people. Experts note that Hamas will not accept this article of the election law and thus it will remain a firm impediment ahead of the vote in Gaza.
Efforts for new election and easing the differences
Still, the pro-election efforts may bear signs of a downturn in the home disunity in Palestine to unite ranks in the face of the Israeli regime.
The adoption of rejuvenated Israeli occupation and aggression and the recent normalization with Tel Aviv of such reactionary countries as the UAE and Bahrain have pushed the Palestinian groups to the conclusion that they need to move to advance national unity.
Recent meetings between Hamas and other groups bear proof of the fact that the Palestinian factions are aspiring towards internal unity.
Another point is that Palestinians hold their meetings in Lebanon and currently in Turkey, departing from their tradition of meeting in Egypt. The Palestinians choose to hold their talks in Beirut and Ankara as Cairo voiced its support to the Arab-Israeli thaw.