Palestinian Elections Generating Great Interest – 36 Party Lists Approved
Americans watching as the Palestinian Authority readies for upcoming legislative and presidential elections can only wonder what political life might be like if, instead of two parties, there were, say … 36. That is the number of party lists that have been approved to vie for seats in the Palestine Legislative Council. The May 22 balloting will be the first since 2006. Voting for the president will take place in July. A leading contender according to all polls is Marwan Barghouti, head of the Fatah faction’s Tanzim group, who is serving five consecutive life sentences for murder as the result of terrorist attacks carried out during the Second Intifada. Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Iranian-backed Hamas Islamist organization, is showing strong support. That, however, brings into question how relations with the United States would be carried out since it is forbidden by American law to deal with entities on the State Department’s terrorism list. Octogenarian Mahmoud Abbas, who is in the 15th year of a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, has submitted his candidacy despite his age.