Palestinians demand Hamas, Fatah hold general election in Gaza, as West Bank prepares for vote in March

Palestinians demand Hamas, Fatah hold general election in Gaza, as West Bank prepares for vote in March
2 min read
06 January, 2022
Gazans have demanded Palestinian rivals, the Hamas and Fatah movements, hold general elections in the coastal enclave after a 15-year suspension.
Gazans have demanded Palestinian rivals, Hamas and Fatah movements, hold general elections in the coastal enclave after a 15-year suspension [-Getty]

Palestinians in Gaza have demanded Hamas and Fatah hold general elections in the coastal enclave after a 15-year suspension.

Next March, the West Bank is scheduled to hold the second phase of local elections amid a boycott by Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza. The first phase took place in December 2021.

Jamal Hmaid, a 36-year-old local resident, said he had never practiced his right to vote in Palestinian elections, expressing his anger at being denied the right to choose his representatives.

"Gazans want to live in ordinary life and participate in all their legal rights, including choosing their representatives who have to present the best of economic, political, and social environments for them," he said.

The last time Gazans voted was in 2006 when Hamas won a general election in the Palestinian Territories, resulting in clashes with Fatah rivals. Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007.

Since then, no legislative or presidential elections have been held in the territories, while the last municipal vote - also boycotted by Hamas - took place in 2017.

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Jamil Al-Hamlawi, another Gaza City resident, complained that no one from the international community is interested in recognising the Gazans' existence amid the ongoing internal constant struggle for power that has contributed to the people's suffering.

"Based on their point of view, unfortunately, we are illegitimate people. In comparison, our politicians cling to their partisan interests only," the man said. 

Hamas has set three main conditions for its participation in local elections and to allow for the second phase of voting to go ahead in March.

This includes general elections - postponed last year - to be held at the same time or soon after the local elections, a written pledge from President Mahmoud Abbas assuring that the vote will not be cancelled again, and that amendments to the local elections law are revoked.