Next Palestinian general election
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The next Palestinian general election refers to planned general elections in the Palestinian State.
Split of Palestinian Authority between Fatah and Hamas
Abbas' term as president ended on 9 January 2009, during the Gaza War. Hamas objected to holding joint elections saying that the presidential election should have been held in January 2009 and the parliamentary elections in 2010. The movement has also stated that Aziz al-Dewik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, would become president after Abbas' term ended until elections could be held.
Fatah meanwhile argued that elections should have been held in January 2010 since the Palestinian election law calls for Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held simultaneously 4 years after the date of the later. Since the Parliamentary elections were held in 2006 (a year after the Presidential ones), new elections for both should have been held in January 2010.
In September 2008 it was suggested that Abbas' term would be extended one year or that parliament will be dissolved a year early in order to hold both elections at the same time.
In reconciliation talks held in Egypt in March 2009, Hamas and Fatah agreed to hold the elections by 25 January 2010.
In February 2010, local elections were scheduled in the West Bank and Gaza for July 2010. The Palestinian government decided to postpone this election, arguing that it wanted to safeguard "national unity". In December 2010, the Palestinian High Court ruled that once the cabinet calls for elections, it does not have authority to cancel them.
Late attempts to unify Palestinian Authority
Presidential and parliamentary election to the Palestinian National Authority were postponed several times because of intra-Palestinian political disputes between Fatah and Hamas, from the original date of 17 July 2010. In November 2011, an election date on 4 May 2012 was preliminarily agreed on. However, due to further delays, the election was decided to be held after June 2012.
In February 2011, following the resignation of Saeb Erekat as chief negotiator with Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process following the release of the Palestine Papers, which were harshly critical of the PLO's concessions, the PLO Executive Committee announced intentions to hold elections before October. Abbas's followed the announcement with calls for "the spirit of change in Egypt" to inspire Palestinian unity. His aide Yasser Abed Rabbo said: "The Palestinian leadership decided to hold presidential and legislative elections within September. It urges all the sides to put their differences aside."
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said that Abbas does not have the legitimacy to make the electoral call. "Hamas will not take part in this election. We will not give it legitimacy. And we will not recognize the results."
In October 2011, Abbas sent a proposal to Hamas for another general election, preferably to be held in early 2012. It was suggested that Hamas would be more willing to participate in another election following the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, which boosted Hamas' standing in Gaza.
Following upgrade of Palestine to non-member UN state status
Following the upgrade of Palestine to non-member observer state status in the UN, it was proposed that general state elections would follow in 2013, in line with unity talks of Fatah and Hamas. No elections date has yet been set, as of late December 2013.
Electoral law reform
In 2007, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party unilaterally changed the electoral law from being half proportionally elected and half constituency/first past the post-based to full proportional representation. He insisted he could issue the change by decree as long as the Palestinian Legislative Council was unable to convene. The move was seen as a bid to lessen the chances of Hamas, the rival party, in the next election. The Hamas party, which controls the PLC, declared the move to be illegal. Face-to-face interviews of 1,270 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from 6–8 September 2007 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showed 53% in favor of the change, with a margin of error of 3%.
Fatah renominated Abbas as their candidate for the next presidential elections in early June 2008, although reports in December suggested that he would not run for a second term. Rumours emerged again on 28 October 2009 of Abbas not running for another term; on 5 November he publicly announced his intention not to run for reelection, though he said he would stay until the next presidential election.
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