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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Democracy, 'Palestinian' Fatah style

The 'moderate' 'Palestinians' of the Fatah movement want to make sure that the 'Palestinian people' get it right the next time there's an election. So today, they amended their 'election law' to make sure no one messes up this time:
With Abbas' decree, Palestinians will now vote solely for party lists, while district voting will be eliminated. Hamas swept parliamentary elections last year in large part because of a strong showing at the district level.

The decree also requires all presidential and parliamentary candidates to recognize the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization as the ''sole, legitimate representative'' of the Palestinian people.

The Islamic militant Hamas, which is not a PLO member, condemned Abbas' decision as illegal.


In a further blow to Hamas, the new election law calls for a runoff in presidential elections until a candidate receives an absolute majority. The change would make it far more difficult for Hamas to capitalize on divisions among secular parties.

But while Abbas claims to be the leader of all Palestinians, Hamas remains firmly in control in Gaza and is unlikely to accept a new vote. Regular parliamentary elections are not scheduled until 2010.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rejected the changes.

''Hamas objects to this policy of monopolizing decision making and will not deal with its outcome,'' he said.

Barhoum said only the parliament, which is controlled by Hamas, has authority to change election law. But Abbas said he now holds such authority since parliament is no longer functioning.

Israel has arrested nearly 40 Hamas lawmakers, leaving the group unable to muster the quorum needed for a parliamentary session.
I'd like to laugh at this but I can't. Unfortunately, this electoral system sounds too much like Israel's.
The principle of country-wide elections states that Israel is a single electoral district insofar as the distribution of Knesset seats is concerned. Direct elections mean that the voter elects the Knesset directly, rather than an electoral college (as is the case in the election of the President in the United States). Equal elections apply to equality amongst the votes given, and the Supreme Court laid down that the principle of equality relates to equality of opportunities for all the lists participating in the elections as well.

The principle of secrecy ensures fairness in the elections and aspires to prevent the placing of effective pressure on voters, since no one has any way of knowing how they actually voted. The principle of proportionality manifests itself in that all the lists, which get past the qualifying threshold, are represented in the Knesset by a number of members which is proportional to their electoral strength.


Since the Parties Law was passed in 1992, only a party, which has been legally registered with the Party Registrar, or an alignment of two or more registered parties, which have decided to run in the elections together, can present a list of candidates and participate in the elections (for example, in the elections for the fifteenth Knesset, the list "One Israel" was composed of three parties; Labor, Gesher and Meimad). A party can informally add to its list bodies or personalities that are not members of the party and that are not registered themselves as a party (for example, in the elections for the fifteenth Knesset, the Unified Arab List included contenders from the Democratic Arab Party, a registered party, and individuals from the Islamic Movement, a non-registered party). The following lists may not run in the elections: A list which acts directly or indirectly against the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people or against its democratic nature; a list which incites racism; a list which supports the armed struggle of an enemy state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel.
Amazingly enough, the only party that has ever been banned under this system was Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D's Kach party, while Arab parties whose MK's consort with Syria and Hezbullah are allowed to continue to run for the Knesset.

Do I sound too cynical today?

And by the way, is Fawzi Barhoum (the 'Hamas spokesman' cited above) related to Saraa Barhoum?


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