Palestinians go to the polls for the first time since 2012 today in the West Bank, again without the participation of Hamas, which is not allowing any vote in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians in the West Bank are holding local elections with Fatah again running without Hamas providing opposition, or letting the poll go ahead in the Gaza Strip.
These are the second consecutive municipal elections to be held without the participation of Hamas or the Gaza Strip. The last time all Palestinians took part in a municipal poll at the same time was in 2006.
“We need to increase the voting percentage to tell the world that we have democracy in Palestine. Unfortunately there are no elections in Gaza, but we hope and pray that next time we will have elections all over Palestine,” said Fatah candidate Maher Kanawati.
Hamas has denounced the poll as meaningless, but some 800,000 people are still expected to vote for some 145 local councils. If Hamas were to run, some polls suggest it would replace Fatah here, too.
“These elections are happening under the control of the West Bank security services in coordination with the Israeli enemy. The vote aims to assure the policy of one party, but the outcome will not be positive for the Palestinian nation. On the contrary the election will strengthen the division between the nation, between the West Bank and Gaza,” said Hamas’s Fawzi Barhoum.
Although this is a virtual one-party election and no-one expects Fatah to lose the turnout will be closely examined for signs voters are disillusioned with Fatah’s record in office, which has been marked by corruption and slow economic progress.