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Commentary on upcoming Palestinian local elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

In i24 News current affairs show The Daily Beat, Dr Björn Brenner discusses the possible outcomes of the upcoming Palestinian local elections and the likely external implications they will have.

Watch the interview in full here (in English)

On 8 October 2016 local elections will be held across the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip. The elections will be held for 416 different local bodies, 25 of which are located in Gaza and 391 in the West Bank.

Particularly interesting with these elections is that Hamas has decided to allow them to take place in Gaza – and also to run itself.

Equally interesting is that, according to recent polls, 75% of the Palestinians in the territories say they want to vote in these elections. This figure can be compared to the 55% that chose to vote in the same elections in 2012. However, those elections were only held in the West Bank and were boycotted by Hamas.

The last time municipal elections were held in all of the Palestinian territories was in 2005. Then it was the first time Hamas participated in local electoral politics – and, furthermore, went on to win in most of the districts.

Hamas has only participated in two (local and legislative) elections before, 2005 and 2006 – and won a majority of the Palestinian voters’ support in both of them. However, since 2006, Hamas and Fatah have not stood against each other in any other than student union elections (which Hamas also have won). It means that the results of the elections on 8 October will be a rare indicator and a mesurement of how the current support stands between the two respective factions.