Palestinian Elections: An opportunity to restore national unity or a step to permanent separation

By Jehad Harb • The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) • Strategic Analysis Unit, April 7, 2019

Three options for holding elections vs. the status quo

Four options are currently being debated regarding the upcoming elections. The first calls for holding simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; the second calls for legislative elections only in the two Palestinian areas; the third calls for holding legislative elections only and only in the West Bank, and the fourth argues in favor of not holding any elections at this time. The first two options require Hamas’ approval, as well as the approval of the Israeli government if elections are to take place in post offices under Israeli control in East Jerusalem in accordance with the 1995 interim terms. The third option requires Israeli approval, for East Jerusalem participation. The fourth option maintains the current status quo in which the public has no ability to bring the existing authority to accountability.

Three Challenges confront Palestinian elections

In holding elections, three challenges confront the Palestinian leadership:

Recommendations

The Palestinian leadership can turn the holding of elections into an opportunity to end disunity and ten years of failed reconciliation by moving the unification efforts to the parliamentary dome. It can also turn it into an opportunity to restore legitimacy to the political system and to achieve a balance between the various political institutions through the popular mandate in accordance with the terms of the Basic Law which specifies the social contract between the citizens and the rulers as well as the constitutional timeframe for this popular mandate. Elections can also provide an opportunity to unify the efforts to better confront the American and Israeli plans to undermine Palestinian interests.