Low poll turnout in Palestine’s local elections signals frustration among masses

Palestinians protest

Palestine PalestineAfter first round of municipal voting in Palestine that was held in early December, Palestinians on Saturday went for local elections across West Bank’s major cities for second round. The low poll turnout at Saturday’s elections signal the frustration among people of territory giving little clarity on political direction.

According to Hanna Nasser, head of the Palestinian Central Election Commission, only about 52 per cent of the eligible people voted in the local elections. Rana Abu Farah, anchor of numerous election debates for the Ma’an TV network, has underlined that Fatah party is claiming win on about 60 per cent of the seats in major cities across Palestine. “But the results should not be considered an indication of their success because of the low turnout, and the absence of any sign of when legislative and presidential elections will take place.”

Analysts have blamed the low voter turn out on lack of clear political direction offered by parties in Palestine, adding to the people’s frustrations. Ali Jarbawi, a political science professor at Bir Zeit University, said, “People don’t see any positive value in participating and the political factions are experiencing weakness.” He added that in order to gain political ground, parties are now naming candidates with a tribal background to garner more votes.

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The political diversity in Palestine has already been highlighted by the low turnout in local elections, said Ghassan Andoni, an academic who contested election on an independent list for the Beit Sahour council. “The elections reflect a wide political map, but in the absence of real competition, Fatah does better.”

Presidential elections in Palestine have already been cancelled in April 2021 with no dates on agenda. Famous Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki said that presidential elections in Palestine are only going to take place when President Mahmoud Abbas announces leaving office. “There is no doubt that Abbas will lose if elections are held,” said Shikaki, who is also a director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

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