Free and fair elections... - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Ben Alofs
    • 13.02.11 | 16:51 (IST)

    Are only possible in an atmosphere, where all candidates, whether they represent politcal parties/organizations or stand as independents are able to hold meetings and express themselves freely, like in a normal election campaign. Under the current circumstances this is impossible. The Westbank is under Israeli occupation and the occupier can interfere at will with the election campaign here. To close a roadblock and make it impossible for a candidate to pass is a simple, but credible example. To try and hold credible elections without the biggest contenders (Hamas and Fatah) having come to some sort of agreement/modus vivendi is simply impossible. In principle the Palestinian public can chose from quite a large variety of political groups and organizations, including the Mubadara around Mustafa Barghouti, presenting itself as a credible third way. But Hamas and Fatah between them share by far the biggest majority of the Palestinian vote. It is not likely that this will change. It is a shame that after the promising 2006 elections Fatah refused to hand over power to the elected Hamas government, but did everything, first and foremost Abbas, to sabotage the democratically elected government. It was supported in this covertly by Israel and the United States. The democratic process never got a chance right from the start, because it was systematically undermined. Fortunately one thing that has not changed is that the Palestinian public, just like the Egyptian people, wants politicians, who are accountable for their actions and must be held to account at every election cycle. If Abbas, the Fatah leadership and Hamas leadership want to serve the Palestinian people and care about a free Palestine then it is their duty to find a common platform for national unity. Without it every election, certainly one held under Israeli occupation, is worthless.

    from the article: Hamas fears Palestinian elections could expose its waning popularity
    First published 01:27 13.02.11 | Last updated 01:27 13.02.11
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