Thursday, October 11, 2012

Elections Come To The West Bank (Sort Of)

We all know that elections is not Abbas's strong suit.
After all, Abbas's own term as President expired on January 15, 2009, over 3 and 1/2 years ago.

As far as local elections go, they were first held in 1976 under Israeli military control and then in 2005 when Hamas defeated Fatah candidates -- and never again.

Until now.

But there is a catch.

Khaled Abu Toameh writes about Abbas's Plan to Steal Local Elections:

To ensure a landslide victory, the Fatah leadership, headed by Abbas, has taken a number of measures aimed at weakening its rivals.

First, Fatah has dismissed about 50 of its members who decided to run as on an independent ticket in the elections.

Among those who were dismissed is Ghassan Shaka'a, a prominent Fatah figure from Nablus who has decided to contest the vote outside his faction's framework. Shaka'a, a former Nablus mayor, has angered Abbas and the Fatah leadership by running as an independent candidate.

Second, Fatah has decided to suspend funds to the other PLO groups that are running against Fatah in the local elections.

Until last month, these groups, especially the PFLP and DFLP, used to receive regular funding from the PLO leadership, although most of them are opposed to the Oslo Accords and peace talks with Israel.

Abbas is hoping that the dismissal of unruly Fatah candidates and the suspension of funds to his political rivals will guarantee his loyalists a smooth victory.
Read the whole thing.

Abbas's task is made easier by the fact that Hamas is boycotting these elections in response to his crackdown.

This is the same Abbas regime that has been cracking down on free speech.

After the on-again, off-again courtship of a Hamas-Fatah unity government, in the end, a Hamas-free election may well spell the end of that dream and end up formalizing the existence of 2 distinct Palestinian Arab territories.

That may well be what Abbas thinks he wants, but as Toameh notes:
This is something that the UN General Assembly will have to take into consideration when it is scheduled next month to vote on Abbas's application to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state to "non-member." The UN members should ask Abbas which state he is talking about -- the one in the West Bank or the one in the Gaza Strip?
We have already seen that the UN will not allow anything so minor as an out-of-office despot running a morally as well as financially bankrupt regime from attempting to gain credibility for his "state." It is unlikely that the prospect of having 2 such kleptocracies will make the UN think twice.

Let alone once.

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