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The joint list in the Palestinian elections: opportunities and cautions

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Palestinian circles have deemed that President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent visit to Qatar may lead to the reproduction of the idea of ​​forming a unified list in the upcoming Palestinian elections, despite the fact that the idea does not have a common political basis, and does not allow other lists to compete. It also aims to keep the Palestinian situation stagnant, preventing change through elections, and recreating quotas between Fatah and Hamas.

This article discusses this option – what it is, who is calling for it, the position of Hamas, Fatah and the factions, and whether it has a national consensus, or whether it reproduces the division by creating quotas between them, without the rest of the Palestinian factions.

Hamas has declared its willingness to run in the elections while respecting the results, on the condition that they meet the conditions of integrity and fairness. It reiterated its willingness to adhere to the ballot boxes, without any fear of hesitations of engaging in any comprehensive elections, considering that these elections, regardless of whether the movement engages in them individually or under a joint list, will be a means to correct the strategic courses of the history of the Palestinian people.

Therefore, we have recently witnessed the issuance of several statements by Fatah and Hamas, that talk about their openness to the idea of a “joint list” in the next legislative elections, without specifying what the list or its political platform would be, thus overcoming the obstacles hindering its announcements.

READ: Palestinian elections must usher in a new era of unity and progress

While Abbas proposed to the Hamas leadership the idea of going into the legislative elections in a united list with Fatah and other factions, or with Fatah alone without the other factions, this raised doubts about its success, and even its credibility.

Some Palestinians believe that the purpose of announcing a joint Palestinian list is to dilute the political positions between Fatah and Hamas, escaping the entitlements of reconciliation, and evading repeated calls for Abbas to hold a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership. This means that the purpose of the list is not necessary in resolving the national Palestinian crisis, by establishing a united front and achieving reconciliation, but that its top goal is to politically contain Hamas.

Also, entering the elections with a single Palestinian list, led by the Fatah and Hamas, which will later include other factions and independents that wish to join, leaves 20-30 per cent of the seats to the lists that wish to run in the elections separately. While the formation of a unified list has been proposed since 2012, and was proposed again by Qatar’s Emir in 2016,........

© Middle East Monitor