Prospects for May Palestinian Elections
Israel will try to subvert and disrupt them.
by Stephen Lendman
Last December, Fatah and Hamas agreed on forming a unity government and holding May presidential, parliamentary, and Palestinian National Council (PLC) elections.
Once concluded, elected officials will join the PLO as sole legitimate Palestinian representative. Agreement was reached on raising PLC members from 132 to 150, approving a new PNC, and parliament in exile with 350 members.
They'll include 150 from Palestine, and another 200 diaspora ones to be elected in countries where they reside or be agreed on in nations not allowing elections.
Discussions continue to resolve differences. Sticky ones remain. Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) member Ahmad Majdalani said:
"Hamas says a trend within the movement is reluctant about Abbas heading the new government for constitutional rather than political reasons."
It's a major obstacle, he added saying:
"Hamas does not think elections can be held currently because the atmosphere isn't appropriate (to do so). They consider (them) a means to rotate authority, but not to turn the table against Hamas."
Moreover, Gaza's electoral register needs updating. The PPSF wants a transitional government lasting no more than 130 days. Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Khaled Mashal agreed in principle for Abbas to head it.
Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahhar and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reject the idea. Nonetheless, they expect differences resolved, May elections held, and a unity government formed.
In late February, the Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies & Consultations assessed electoral prospects and implications. It said "conditions on the ground do not seem to provide a supportive environment."
Fatah wants its legitimacy established to lead all Palestinians and deal politically with Israel. Consider its record under Abbas.
In the West Bank, nothing tangible was achieved. Organizational and structural problems remain. Hamas controls Gaza and has some West Bank influence.