Parliamentary Election Rules
for the Palestinian Legislative Council

By Stephanie Persin

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were finally able to agree on a law pertaining to the upcoming elections. After a month of dispute, a new law has been passed that requires half of the PLC candidates to be elected by district, while the other half must be elected according to the proportion of citizens per area. The number of PLC members has also been increased from 88 to 132, allowing for the election of a more diverse council.

Elections on a solely district level would have assured a high representation of Hamas candidates. Abbas realized this and one month ago he proposed national elections, which would give other political parties a better chance of being elected. The new law is a compromise between these two proposals.

All of the Palestinian political parties seem to approve of the new law. The July 17 elections have been postponed, and it is Abbas's responsibility to choose another election date. Parliamentary elections for the PLC have not taken place in almost ten years and each party wants to quickly determine the date of elections. Most of the Palestinian groups such as the Islamic Jihad and the Democratic Front are hoping for an election to take place in January 2006 or sooner.

Source: The Jerusalem Post, (June 18, 2005)