The unclear results of Israel’s general election this week appear to be mirrored within the Palestinian Authority, according to polling conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research.
Should elections go ahead in May, the polling found that both Fatah, the party of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, and its rival, terror group Hamas, would fall significantly short of a parliamentary majority. This would require them to collaborate with one another and smaller parties in order to form a government.
The polling found that a united Fatah list would win 43 percent of the vote and Hamas 30 percent, with 18 percent undecided. These figures are complicated by factionalism within Fatah, which could see its support drop to 30 percent should various groups from within Fatah run separately. By contrast, Hamas – which openly seeks Israel’s destruction – is seen as significantly more disciplined and unified.
PCPSR director Khalil Shikaki has said that Fatah is seen as best able to address most voters’ priorities, including restoring national unity, economic improvement, and ending the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza, which began after Hamas’ seizure of power in Gaza in 2007.
The May elections would be the first general election in the Palestinian Territories since 2006, when Hamas won a surprise landslide victory. While the plans appear to be on track, it is possible that disputes between Fatah and Hamas could once again lead to delay or further cancellation of the elections.