Palestinians hold first local elections in years | AP via Bloomberg Businessweek
By Dalia Nammarimohammed Daraghmeh
NABLUS, West Bank (AP) — Posters for two competing candidates in this weekend’s Palestinian local elections are affixed to road signs, buildings, power lines, and vehicles in this bustling West Bank city. Despite the crush of campaign color, the first municipal balloting in Palestinian areas in six years has largely fallen flat.
Only Palestinians in the West Bank will vote Saturday, choosing mostly between rivals from the dominant but disorganized Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas. Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who seized control of the territory from Abbas’ forces in 2007, will not allow elections there, and Hamas loyalists in the West Bank are boycotting the vote.
The result is a lackluster campaign that has generated little public enthusiasm while deepening the split between the two territories that the Palestinians hope one day will be a single state.
“For the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the elections are something of a disaster,” said Nathan Thrall, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.