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Parties in the Palestinian Authority Legislative Election

Posted: January 30, 2006

Update: Hamas easily won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative elections on January 25, 2006.  Fatah had been expected to prevail, with Hamas coming in a close second, and the results came as a shock to the international community.


The final results, as reported by the Palestinian Central Elections Committee:


Of 132 seats:

The  List of Change and Reform (Hamas)

74 seats

Fatah Movement

45 seats

The list of the Martyr Abu Ali Mustapha

3 seats

Alternative List  

2 seats

Independent Palestine

2 seats

The Third Way

2 seats

The Independents list  

4 seats


The January 25 elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority are the first since 1996.  The current elections, which will expand the legislative council from 88 seats to 132, are widely seen as a test for democracy in the West Bank and Gaza and are being closely watched due to the participation of Hamas, a terrorist organization that does not recognize the Oslo accords and calls for the destruction of Israel.


Half of the seats will be allotted by proportional representation to all party lists that garner more than two percent of the vote; the other half will be allotted to directly elected representatives of electoral districts. Over all, every eligible Palestinian will vote for their list and for their district representative.


Public opinion polls predict a strong showing by the terrorist organization Hamas.  The two major parties, Fatah and Hamas, will fight for a majority of the seats in the legislature, but polls predict that neither party will win a majority of seats due to the plethora of smaller parties competing.


Major Parties:


Fatah list: The PLC has been dominated by Fatah, which holds 68 of the 88 seats. Fatah has suffered internal strife in advance of the 2006 elections between the traditional leadership (the Old Guard) and younger personalities, such as Mohammad Dahlan and the imprisoned Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for  terrorism.  The younger members expressed frustration at Fatah's corruption and the results of the internal Fatah elections, which gave the Old Guard key positions on the party lists thereby excluding the younger members from guaranteed legislative seats.  Both Dahlan and Barghouti submitted an alternative list dubbed Al-Mustaqbal (The Future), headed by Barghouti. On December 28, 2005 the two Fatah factions agreed to submit a single list under the leadership of the imprisoned Barghouti, who began actively campaigning for Fatah from his jail cell.


List of Change and Reform: The Change and Reform list is the representative of  Hamas, and the primary rival of Fatah on the Palestinian political scene. Hamas did not participate in the 1996 elections so as not to legitimize the Palestinian Authority and its negotiations with Israel. Hamas still refuses to recognize or negotiate with Israel.  Hamas had huge success in the municipal elections, which gave it considerable momentum for the legislative elections.  Their municipal success brought out the alarming prospect of a PLC heavily comprised of Hamas members.


Alternative List: The Alternative List is headed by a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Qais Karim Khadir. The list is a coalition of the DFLP, the Palestinian People's Party, The Palestinian Democratic Union and various independents. The Alternative List puts forward a platform of social issue reform.


Wa'ad List: Similar to the Alternative List, the Wa'ad is a social reform party. It is also known as the National Coalition for Justice and Democracy. The list is headed by Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj.  El-Sarraj was a consultant to the Palestinian delegation to the Camp David 2000 Summit. The Wa'ad list's main political platform is the establishment of the rule of law, promotion of human rights, security reforms and an agenda of civil reforms.


Third Way List:  The Third Way list aims at putting forward an alternative agenda to that of Fatah and Hamas. The list is headed by the former Palestinian Finance Minister, Dr. Salam Fayyad and former PA Minister of Higher Education and Research Hanan Ashrawi. The platform focuses on socio-economic progress, democratic improvements and a reform of the security forces.


Independent Palestine List: The left-wing Independent Palestine list is headed by Mustafa Barghouti, who came in second in the 2005 Palestinian Presidential election. Barghouti is a distant relative of Marwan Barghouti. The main component of this list is the Palestinian National Initiative. The list's platforms aim to fight corruption and nepotism, push for the dismantling of the security barrier, and support the emergence of a truly democratic and independent third way party of the unrepresented Palestinian voters.


Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa List: The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa is a left-wing political party headed by Ahmad Sa'adat who is serving a jail sentence in the Jericho prison on the charge of assassinating the late Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. This list is formed by the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and is named after its secretary who was assassinated by the Israeli forces in 2001. The PFLP is the second largest faction of the PLO after Fatah.


In addition to these lists, there are four other lists representing independent and marginal factions in the Palestinian society; two of which are the Sa'aqa movement, a former extreme faction of Fatah affiliated with Syria, and the Arab Liberation Front, the Palestinian branch of the Iraqi Ba'th party.






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