West Bank Palestinians Hold Elections--But Gaza Doesn't

Gaza is not having local elections after Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has made a decision to boycott them.

Elections commission spokesman Fared Tomallah says some 390 councils are being chosen, with 145 of them being contested by multiple candidates. Preliminary results will be announced on Sunday.

The festival will feature 25 films, made by Palestinian, Arab and global artists in Gaza, the West Bank and the Israeli-Arab city of Haifa, said festival spokesman Saud Aburamadan.

The West Bank and Gaza have not participated in an election together since 2006, when Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary polls, sparking a conflict that almost led to civil war in Gaza the following year. But with the rival movements disqualifying each other's candidates, Fatah chose to go forward with the elections in the West Bank alone in a bid to renew its legitimacy.

What this means for the future of Palestinian elections is unclear, though with Abbas over a decade into a four-year term in office, there's a sense among voters that their vote really doesn't count for much, and that the Palestinian Authority largely stumbles along on its own momentum.


Ramallah, the Palestinian political capital, saw turnout of less than 40 per cent. Activists at Fatah headquarters were busy getting out the vote and arranging rides for relatives to the ballot stations.

In just two cities, Jenin and Jericho, did Fatah win an outright victory without support from other participating factions. More than 200 others either failed to submit an electoral list or submitted only one, meaning automatic appointment.

"This is the traditional elections tactic of reaching out to tribes", said Khaled Qawasmi, a former Fatah official who was sacked for running independently.

A Palestinian casting his vote in local elections in the city of Nablus. According to Reuters, it's the first democratic exercise in years. "We are here to start a new generation in Ramallah, a new future for Ramallah, and I hope everybody will vote their conscience". Nearly 50% of eligible voters turned out on Saturday.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party was ahead in most of the West Bank's main cities after municipal elections that highlighted persistent divisions with its rival Hamas, results showed today.


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