Palestinian Democratic Union

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Palestinian Democratic Union

الاتحاد الديمقراطي الفلسطيني
LeaderSaleh Ra'fat
FounderYasser Abd Rabbo[1]
Split fromDemocratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
IdeologyScientific socialism
Two-state solution
Political positionLeft-wing[2]
National affiliationPalestine Liberation Organization,
Democratic Alliance List

The Palestinian Democratic Union (Arabic: الاتحاد الديمقراطي الفلسطينيAl-Ittihad al-Dimuqrati al-Filastini, generally known as FIDA Arabic: فدا‎) is a small Palestinian political party active in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).


FIDA emerged as a split from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)[1] due to disputes in the early 1990s about the policies towards Jordan, the Oslo peace process and the First Intifada.[3][4] In September 1991, the party approved its political program. In April 1993, it adopted the name Palestinian Democratic Union – FIDA.[4]


The youth wing of FIDA is known as Independence Youth Union (Arabic: اتحاد شباب الاستقلال Athad Shebab Alasetqelal); there are also workers' and women's groups. FIDA has no armed wing, in contrast to the DFLP and several other Palestinian organizations.[citation needed]

Beliefs and ideology[edit]

The slogan of FIDA is "freedom, independence, return, democracy and socialism". It presents itself as a progressive, secular and democratic socialist party, and espouses the Marxist vocabulary of "scientific socialism".

FIDA took a more moderate stance than the main DFLP (led by Nayef Hawatmeh and based in Damascus, Syria) towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has tried to establish itself as a left-wing democratic alternative in Palestinian politics. It advocates a two-state solution based on the borders of 1967 and with East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state. A prominent FIDA leader, Mamduh Nofal, in 2002 signed an appeal to stop suicide bombings.[5]

The party has held two National Conferences, the first in Jericho in 1995 and the second in 2000.

FIDA leadership[edit]

FIDA was founded by Yasser Abd Rabbo, a pro-peace moderate, who then represented the organization in the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, where he worked as an advisor to Yassir Arafat.

In 2002, he resigned from the party after internal disputes. Women's rights activist Zahira Kamal had been chosen in an internal election to replace him as minister[6] in the government of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), but Abd Rabbo refused to step down, and instead left the party. He was then able to remain in the cabinet as an independent, with the backing of Arafat, but was replaced in FIDA by Saleh Ra'fat, the current Secretary-General. Zahira Kamal remains in FIDA, but outside of government. Other important FIDA leaders include Azmi ash-Shu'aybi and Mamduh Nofal.

Electoral participation[edit]

FIDA is well represented with 21 members in the Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO's exile parliament. They were elected as DFLP delegates, or appointed to serve as delegates from various PLO branches, at the last PNC in 1988. Since then, no new elections have been held.

FIDA took part in the 1996 elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and with Fatah backing managed to gain one seat, held by Azmi ash-Shu'aybi. Ash-Shu'aybi has been campaigning for greater parliamentary control of the executive authority and greater transparency in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

In the January 2006 PLC elections, FIDA ran its candidates on the al-Badeel (Alternative) slate together with the DFLP and the Palestinian People's Party (PPP).[7] It received 2.8% of the popular vote and won two of the Council's 132 seats.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]