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Palestinian legislative election, 2006

Palestinian legislative election, 2006

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On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council
Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council, the legislature of the Palestinian Authority, is a unicameral body with 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza...

(PLC), the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA). Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections
Palestinian municipal election, 2005
Municipal elections were held to elect members of local councils in the Palestinian Territories between December 2004 and December 2005. They were the first local elections held in Palestinian areas in almost thirty years....

 and the January 9, 2005 presidential election
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996
Palestinian legislative and presidential election, 1996
On January 20, 1996, elections took place in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem for President of the Palestinian National Authority , and for members of the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislative arm of the PNA....

; subsequent elections had been repeatedly postponed due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

. Palestinian voters in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 including East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 were eligible to participate in the election.

Final results show that Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 won the election, with 74 seats to the ruling-Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

's 45, providing Hamas with the majority of the 132 available seats and the ability to form a majority government
Majority government
A majority government is when the governing party has an absolute majority of seats in the legislature or parliament in a parliamentary system. This is as opposed to a minority government, where even the largest party wins only a plurality of seats and thus must constantly bargain for support from...

 on their own.

Of the Electoral Lists, Hamas received 44.45% and Fatah 41.43% and of the Electoral Districts, Hamas party candidates received 41.73% and Fatah party candidates received 36.96%.

The Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority is the head of government of the Palestinian Authority government.The Prime Minister's Office was created in 2003 to manage day-to-day activities of the Palestinian government. The position was created because both Israel and the United...

, Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei , also known by his Arabic Kunya Abu Alaa is a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority...

, resigned, but at the request of President
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

, remained as interim
Provisional government
A provisional government is an emergency or interim government set up when a political void has been created by the collapse of a very large government. The early provisional governments were created to prepare for the return of royal rule...

 Prime Minister until February 19, when Hamas leader Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniyeh ; is a senior political leader of Hamas and one of two disputed Prime Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority, the matter being under political and legal dispute. He became Prime Minister after the legislative elections of 2006 which Hamas won...

 formed the new government. The Quartet
Quartet on the Middle East
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

 threatened to cut funds to the Palestinian Authority following the elections.

Electoral system




The previous elections chose 88 PLC members from several multimember constituencies via block voting
Block voting
Block voting and Bloc voting may refer to:*Plurality-at-large voting, a voting system with multiple winners and a checkbox ballot*Preferential block voting, a voting system with multiple winners and a preferential ballot...

. In advance of the 2006 elections, Palestinian electoral law was changed to expand the PLC from 88 to 132 seats and create a degree of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 via a parallel voting
Parallel voting
Parallel voting describes a mixed voting system where voters in effect participate in two separate elections for a single chamber using different systems, and where the results in one election have little or no impact on the results of the other...

 system.

Each voter receives two ballots. On the first, the voter chooses one of several nationwide party lists. 66 of the PLC seats are distributed proportionally (in accordance with the Sainte-Laguë method
Sainte-Laguë method
The Sainte-Laguë method is one way of allocating seats approximately proportional to the number of votes of a party to a party list used in many voting systems. It is named after the French mathematician André Sainte-Laguë. The Sainte-Laguë method is quite similar to the D'Hondt method, but uses...

) to those lists that receive more than 2 % of the total list votes; if a list receives six seats, then the six candidates at the top of the list are elected to the PLC. Each list must include at least one woman in the first three names, at least one woman in the next four names, and at least one woman in the five names that follow.

The second ballot is for the voter's local constituency. The voter can cast up to as many votes for individual candidates as there are seats in his or her constituency. Votes are unweighted, and top-vote getters are elected to the PLC. For example, a voter in the Nablus district could cast up to six votes; the six candidates with the highest vote totals are elected.

In some constituencies, one or two seats are set aside for the Christian
Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...

 candidates with the most votes. For instance, in Ramallah, a five-seat constituency, the Christian candidate with the most votes will be elected to the PLC, even if he or she is not among top five candidates overall. The six seats reserved for Christians are considered the minimum quota for their representation in the council. .

The number of seats each electoral district receives is determined by its population; the breakdown is as follows:
  • Jerusalem
    Jerusalem Governorate
    The Jerusalem Governorate is one of 16 Palestinian governorates situated in the central portion of the West Bank. Its claimed district capital is East Jerusalem, which is, however, under Israeli occupation and regarded by Israel as being part of its territory. The total land area of the...

    : 6 seats (2 reserved for Christians)
  • Tubas
    Tubas
    Tubas or Toubas is a small Palestinian city in the northeastern West Bank, located northeast of Nablus, a few kilometers west of the Jordan River. A city of over 16,000 inhabitants, it serves as the economic and administrative center of the Tubas Governorate. Its urban area consists of 2,271 dunams...

    : 1 seat
  • Tulkarm
    Tulkarm
    Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

    : 3 seats
  • Qalqilya: 2 seats
  • Salfit
    Salfit
    Salfit also spelled Salfeet is a Palestinian town in the central West Bank. Salfit is located at an altitude of in the central Samarian highlands adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Ariel. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the City had a population of 8,796 in 2007....

    : 1 seat
  • Nablus
    Nablus Governorate
    The Nablus Governorate is an administrative district of the Palestinian National Authoritylocated in the Central Highlands of the West Bank, 53km north of Jerusalem. It covers the area around the city of Nablus which serves as the muhfaza of the governorate...

    : 6 seats
  • Jericho
    Jericho
    Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

    : 1 seat
  • Ramallah
    Ramallah
    Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

    : 5 seats (1 reserved for Christians)
  • Jenin
    Jenin Governorate
    The Jenin Governorate is one of a number of Governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the Palestinian Territories, it covers the northern extremity of the West Bank including the area around the city of Jenin....

    : 4 seats
  • Bethlehem
    Bethlehem Governorate
    The Bethlehem Governorate is one of 16 Governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the Palestinian Territories. It covers an area of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Its principal city and district capital is Bethlehem...

    : 4 seats (2 reserved for Christians)
  • Hebron
    Hebron
    Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

    : 9 seats
  • North Gaza
    North Gaza Governorate
    The North Gaza Governorate is one of 16 Governorates of the Palestinian National Authority in the Gaza Strip which is administered by the Palestinian National Authority aside from its border with Israel, airspace and maritime territory...

    : 5 seats
  • Gaza City: 8 seats (1 reserved for Christians)
  • Deir al-Balah: 3 seats
  • Khan Younis: 5 seats
  • Rafah
    Rafah
    Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

    : 3 seats
  • Total: 66 seats (6 reserved for Christians)

Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...


Before the 2006 election, the PLC was dominated by the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 movement, which held 68 of the 88 seats. However, Fatah had been beset by internal strife in advance of the elections, with younger and more popular figures like Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan born on September 29, 1961 in Khan Younis Refugee Camp, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip also known by the kunya or nom de guerre Abu Fadi is a Palestinian politician, the former leader of Fatah in Gaza...

, who took part in the negotiations of the 1993 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, and Marwan Barghouti
Marwan Barghouti
Marwan Hasib Ibrahim Barghouti is a Palestinian political figure. He is regarded as a leader of the First and Second Intifadas. Barghouti at one time supported the peace process, but later became disillusioned, and after 2000 went on to become the main figure behind the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the...

 (the latter currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail on terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 charges) levelling allegations of corruption against Fatah leadership. Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 organised primary elections to determine its list members, but the results were disputed and central lists imposed in some areas. The younger faction submitted a list dubbed Al-Mustaqbal
Al-Mustaqbal
Al-Mustaqbal , The Future, was a Palestinian electoral list headed by Marwan Barghouti and registered in December 2005 for January 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.- Formation :...

 ("the Future"), headed by Barghouti. However, on December 28, 2005, the leadership of the two factions agreed to submit a single list to voters, headed by Barghouti, who began actively campaigning for Fatah from his jail cell. Despite this, the two groups were by no means fully reconciled.

List of Change and Reform


The main component of this list was the Islamist Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 movement, Fatah's main rival on the Palestinian political scene. Unlike Fatah, Hamas has refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist. Hamas refused to participate in the 1996 elections
Palestinian legislative and presidential election, 1996
On January 20, 1996, elections took place in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem for President of the Palestinian National Authority , and for members of the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislative arm of the PNA....

 because it viewed the Palestinian Authority as illegitimate due to its negotiations with Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

; while it has not changed that stance, it fielded candidates in 2006. Going into the election it had considerable momentum due to unexpected electoral success in the municipal elections in 2005.

The prospect of a Palestinian Authority dominated by Hamas alarmed Western governments, which almost universally consider it to be a terrorist group, and which provide foreign aid that makes up almost half of the PNA's budget. It was fear of a Hamas victory that was largely credited with driving the reconciliation between the main Fatah list and the Al-Mustaqbal
Al-Mustaqbal
Al-Mustaqbal , The Future, was a Palestinian electoral list headed by Marwan Barghouti and registered in December 2005 for January 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.- Formation :...

 breakaway faction.

Independent Palestine


This list was headed by Mustafa Barghouti
Mustafa Barghouti
Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian democracy activist. He was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19% of the vote.Barghouti was born in Jerusalem...

, a distant relative of Marwan Barghouti. Mustafa Barghouti came in second in the Palestinian presidential election, 2005
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

. The main component of this list was the Palestinian National Initiative
Palestinian National Initiative
Palestinian National Initiative is a Palestinian political movement or party led by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti.Its formation was formally announced on June 17, 2002 in Ramallah on the West Bank, part of the Palestinian Territories, by Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Dr...

. The list promised to fight corruption and nepotism, to demand the dismantling of the Israeli West Bank barrier
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

, which it terms the "apartheid wall", and to provide "a truly democratic and independent 'third way' for the large majority of silent and unrepresented Palestinian voters, who favour neither the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fatah party, nor the fundamentalism of Hamas."

Abu Ali Mustafa


This list was formed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

 and is named after Abu Ali Mustafa
Abu Ali Mustafa
Abu Ali Mustafa , , the kunya of Mustafa Alhaj a.k.a. Mustafa Ali Zibri, was the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from July 2000 until he was killed by Israel forces.-Biography:...

, the General Secretary of the PFLP who was assassinated by Israeli forces in 2001. The PFLP is the second largest member of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), after Fatah.

Third Way
Third Way (Palestine)
The Third Way is a small centrist Palestinian political party active in the Palestinian National Authority . Founded on 16 December 2005, the party is led by Salam Fayyad and Hanan Ashrawi....


This list was headed by Finance Minister Dr Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

 and former PA Minister of Higher Education and Research Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi is a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar. She was a protégé and later colleague and close friend of Edward Said. Ashrawi was an important leader during the First Intifada, served as the official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East...

. Their platform focused on reform of the security forces, democratic improvements and socioeconomic progress. .

In the run up to the election a Fatah leader in Nablus accused the Third Way of receiving funds from the CIA.

The Alternative
The Alternative (Palestine)
The Alternative was an electoral alliance of several socialist Palestinian groups:*Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine *Palestinian People's Party...


This list was a coalition of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

, the Palestinian People's Party
Palestinian People's Party
The Palestinian People's Party , founded in 1982 as the Palestinian Communist Party, is a socialist political party in the Palestinian territories and among the Palestinian diaspora....

, the Palestine Democratic Union
Palestine Democratic Union
The Palestinian Democratic Union is a small Palestinian political party active in the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority .- Background :...

 (Fida), and various independents. The list was headed by Qais Abd al-Karim
Qais Abd al-Karim
Qais Abd al-Karim, also known as Abu Layla or Qays Samarra’i, is a leading Palestinian activist.He is a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council....

 (Abou Leila) from the DFLP. The PPP candidate received 2.67% in the Palestinian presidential election, 2005
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

. In the list vote, its best vote was 6.6% in Bethlehem, followed by 4.5% in Ramallah and al-Bireh and 4.0% in Nablus.

Wa'ad


Also known as the National Coalition for Justice and Democracy, this list was headed by Gazan doctor Eyad El-Sarraj
Eyad El-Sarraj
Eyad al-Sarraj is a Palestinian Gazan psychiatrist who was a consultant to the Palestinian delegation at the Camp David 2000 Summit. He is also a recipient of the Physicians for Human Rights Awards. He is featured in a book by journalist Barbara Victor about Palestinian female suicide bombers, Army...

, who was a consultant to the Palestinian delegation to the Camp David 2000 Summit
Camp David 2000 Summit
The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat...

 and heads a group of Palestinian and Israeli academics working towards a peace agreement. The list's main platform is security reforms, establishing the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Results and turnout

see also Current members of Palestinian Legislative Council
Current members of Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council currently has 132 members following the legislative election on January 25, 2006. This is a list of PLC members, arranged by constituency...



The Central Elections Commission released the final results on Sunday, January 29, 2006, and announced that Hamas had won 74 of the 132 seats, while Fatah trailed with 45.

According to the results, Hamas won the large majority of the constituency seats but was more narrowly ahead on the lists. Fatah did beat Hamas in the constituencies in Qalqilya, Rafah, and Jericho. Jenin was split evenly, and Fatah won the seats reserved for Christians in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Ramallah.

The Central Elections Commission said turnout was 74.6% — 76.0% in the Gaza Strip and 73.1% in the West Bank.

Pre-election opinion polls


The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research polled 1,316 adults in the West bank and Gaza strip in early December 2005 on their voting intentions for the legislative poll, which indicated the following support:
  • Fatah: 50%
  • Hamas: 32%
  • Others: 9%
  • Undecided: 9%


A second poll by PCPSR between 29 December - 31 December covered 4560 potential voters and gave the following results:
  • Fatah: 43%
  • Change and Reform (Hamas): 25%
  • Independent Palestine: 5%
  • Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa: 3%
  • The Alternative: 2%
  • The Third Way: 2%
  • Undecided: 19%


No other lists were expected to exceed the 2% threshold.

A poll from Palestinian Public Opinion Polls, conducted 5 January and 6 January, covering 1360 persons, shows a further move away from Fatah:
  • Fatah 39.3%
  • Change and Reform (Hamas): 31.3%
  • Independent Palestine: 10.4%
  • Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa: 6.8%
  • The Third Way: 5.5%


No other lists were expected to exceed the 2% threshold.

Voting in East Jerusalem


On December 21, 2005, Israeli officials stated their intention to prevent voting in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, which, unlike most of the Palestinian-inhabited areas that are planned to participate in the election, is under Israeli civil and military control. (Israel annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 East Jerusalem in the wake of the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

; this move has not been recognized by most other governments, or by the PNA, which claims Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.) Israel's stated motivation was not the argument about sovereignty over the area (Palestinian voters in East Jerusalem had been allowed to vote in previous PNA elections despite the dispute) but concern over Hamas' participation in—and potential victory in—the election. Muhammad Abu Tir
Muhammad Abu Tir
Muhammad Hassan Abu Tir is a member of Hamas and a representative on the Palestinian Legislative Council for his East Jerusalem constituency. He was elected to the position in the Palestinian legislative elections that were held on January 25, 2006. Abu Tir is known for his bright orange...

, Mustafa Barghouti
Mustafa Barghouti
Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian democracy activist. He was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19% of the vote.Barghouti was born in Jerusalem...

, and Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi is a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar. She was a protégé and later colleague and close friend of Edward Said. Ashrawi was an important leader during the First Intifada, served as the official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East...

 were all briefly detained by Israeli police when they attempted to campaign in East Jerusalem. In response, PNA officials stated that the election would not be held if East Jerusalem voters could not participate -- though this move was seen more as a pretext to postpone elections that Fatah might lose to Hamas than a debate over principle.

After privately agreeing to use the issue as a pretext for delaying the elections again so as to avoid Hamas electoral gains, Israeli and Palestinian officials raised the issue with the United States. But President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 made clear the elections should go forward as scheduled.

On January 10, 2006, Israeli officials announced that a limited number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem would be able to cast votes at post offices, as they did in 1996. Palestinian candidates will also be allowed to campaign in East Jerusalem as long as they register with Israeli police—and, a police spokesman noted, "Anyone who is a supporter of Hamas will not receive permission." Israeli police closed at least three Hamas election offices in East Jerusalem during the campaign.

Atmosphere


After polls closed, officials and observers called the vote "peaceful"; Edward McMillan-Scott
Edward McMillan-Scott
Edward Hugh Christian McMillan-Scott is a British Member of the European Parliament and one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament...

, the British Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 head of the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

's monitoring team described the polls as "extremely professional, in line with international standards, free, transparent and without violence". His colleague, Italian Communist MEP Luisa Morgantini
Luisa Morgantini
Luisa Morgantini is an Italian Member of the European Parliament. She was elected as independent with the Communist Refoundation Party ticket and sits with the European United Left - Nordic Green Left group....

 said there was "a very professional attitude, competence and respect for the rules." All polling stations closed on time (7 p.m.) except for East Jerusalem, where voting was extended by the permitted two extra hours. Hamas protested this extension, claiming it only served Fatah; the Central Elections Committee stated that voting hours were "extended upon the approval of the Israeli authorities due to lengthy queues as a result of obstructions by post office workers."

The militant Islamist group Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

 called on Palestinians to boycott the election
Election boycott
An election boycott is the boycotting of an election by a group of voters, each of whom abstains from voting.Boycotting may be used as a form of political protest where voters feel that electoral fraud is likely, or that the electoral system is biased against its candidates, or that the polity...

.

Exit polls


Exit polls indicated that Fatah emerged with more seats than Hamas, but not a majority of PLC seats. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research estimated that Fatah had won 42% of the national vote and Hamas 35%; the margin of error was 4%. Another exit poll, conducted by Birzeit University
Birzeit University
Birzeit University is a university located in Birzeit near Ramallah, Palestinian territories. BZU is among the foremost tertiary educational institutes in the Palestinian territories and has played a significant role in the Palestinian political dialogue.- History :The institution was originally...

, largely viewed as the most authoritative estimation, had Fatah with 46.4% of the vote and Hamas with 39.5%; their tentative prediction of seat allocation had Fatah with 63 seats, four short of a majority; Hamas 58; the Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa list 3; The Third Way 2; Independent Palestine 2; The Alternative 2; and two independents.

Leaders from both Hamas and Fatah, however, announced on Thursday morning that Hamas was expected to win a majority. Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniyeh ; is a senior political leader of Hamas and one of two disputed Prime Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority, the matter being under political and legal dispute. He became Prime Minister after the legislative elections of 2006 which Hamas won...

, who topped the Change and Reform list claimed "Hamas has won more than 70 seats in Gaza and the West Bank". . Another Hamas leader, Musheer al-Masri claimed the party expected to win 77 seats. Aljazeera reported Fatah officials conceding defeat. Prime minister Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei , also known by his Arabic Kunya Abu Alaa is a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority...

 resigned on Thursday morning, along with his cabinet, saying it now fell to Hamas to form a government. . Hamas leader al-Masri called for a "political partnership" with Fatah, but prominent Fatah leader, Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub is a Palestinian political figure. He was the head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank until being dismissed in 2002. He was elected to the Fatah Central Committee at the party's 2009 congress...

, rejected a coalition and called on Fatah to form a "responsible opposition".

Aftermath


The 2006–2007 economic sanctions against the Palestinian National Authority were imposed by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Quartet on the Middle East
Quartet on the Middle East
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

 against the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 and the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

.

Israel and the Quartet have said that sanctions would be lifted only when the Palestinian government has met the following demands:
  • Renunciation of violence,
  • Recognition of Israel by the Hamas government (as had the PLO
    Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition
    Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition were a series of official letters of recognition between the government of Israel and its Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestine Liberation Organization's Chairman Yasser Arafat dated September 9, 1993...

    ), and
  • Acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.


The international sanctions were terminated in June 2007 following the Battle of Gaza
Battle of Gaza (2007)
The Battle of Gaza was a military conflict between Hamas and Fatah that took place between June 7 and 15, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. After winning Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, Hamas and Fatah formed the Palestinan authority national unity government in 2007, headed by Ismail Haniya. In...

, while at the same time a new and more severe blockade of the Gaza Strip was initiated.

External links