Event Reports

Birzeit Legal Encounter

Local Elections – Perception, Reality, and Challenges

Today’s Birzeit Legal Encounter dealt with a topic of high practical relevancy: Local Elections – Perception, Reality, and Challenges.

After Mr. Hisham Kuhail of the Central Elections Committee (CEC) had briefed the audience on the local election system, he reported the current state of the preparations for the local elections which will be held on July 17, 2010. According to Mr. Kuhail, the registration of the voters has been finalized; between June 1 and June 10, candidates will have the opportunity to register on lists which must contain a minimum of seven candidates. In the local elections, the personnel of 335 municipalities and village councils throughout the West Bank will be elected. Mr. Kuhail expressed his satisfaction concerning the high amount of female candidates running for the elections but showed some concern over the weak representation of the Christian minority.

Afterwards, Dr. Basem Zubeidi of the Birzeit University looked behind the scenes of the Palestinian Authority which had rendered local elections possible by warranting its support. According to Dr. Zubeidi, for Fatah, the local elections are an assessment of its popularity in the West Bank. In this regard, Fatah should be content with the fact that Hamas does not only refuse to nominate candidates for the elections but has also demanded from its supporters to abstain from voting. For Fatah, the amount of non-voters is seen as a crucial indicator for Hamas’ popularity in the Westbank.