Candidates submit lists for PA parliamentary vote

The commission is scheduled to study candidacy applications within five days from the date of their submission before deciding whether to accept or reject them.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS)
(photo credit: OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS)
Candidates running for the Palestinian parliamentary election began on Saturday submitting their lists to the Central Elections Commission offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The parliamentary election has been set for May 22, to be followed by a vote for the PA presidency on July 31. Earlier, the commission announced that it would start receiving applications for candidacy for the parliamentary election between March 20 and 31.
The commission said that candidacy is through electoral lists on the basis of full proportional representation, and individual candidacy applications are not accepted. The number of candidates for each list should not be less than 16 and no more than 132.
On the first day, three lists were presented to the commission: 1 – Democratic Change, which is affiliated with the PLO’s Marxist-Leninist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), 2 – Palestine For All, headed by Gaza Strip resident former PA labor and housing minister Mufeed al-Hasayna, 3 – My Dignity, headed by Dr. Mansour Salamah, a prominent academic and researcher from the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank.
The DFLP said that its 61-member list consists of activists of youth movements and independent figures from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and said that its list seeks to end “the devastating state of division [between the West Bank and Gaza Strip] and confront the occupation and its terror against our people.”
Hasayna, the former PA minister, said that his list includes independent candidates who do not belong to any Palestinian political organizations. Young men and women constitute about 35% of the Palestine For All list, he said.
“Our program will be from the people to the people, and it will focus on the difficult situation that our people are suffering from in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the difficult health situation they are experiencing, and the painful unemployment that prevents us from benefiting from youth experiences,” Hasayna added.
The commission is scheduled to study candidacy applications within five days from the date of their submission before deciding whether to accept or reject them.
Each list is required to provide the commission with the signatures of 3,000 supporters who are eligible voters. In addition, each list is required to deposit a sum of $20,000 into the commission’s bank account.
According to the commission’s electoral regulations, a candidate running for the parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, must be over the age of 28 and without a felony or misdemeanor conviction.
This means that Mohammed Dahlan – who was expelled from the ruling Fatah faction in 2011 and has since been living in the United Arab Emirates – would not be able to present his candidacy for the presidential election. In 2016, a PA court in Ramallah sentenced Dahlan in absentia to three years in prison on charges of embezzlement of public funds.
Last week, Dahlan hinted that he may run in the presidential election. He said in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television channel that his supporters were planning to participate in the parliamentary election.
Palestinian sources told the Palestinian Al-Quds daily newspaper that Dahlan loyalists were discussing with Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the possibility of forming a joint list to contest the parliamentary election.
Kidwa, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, was recently expelled from the faction after he formed his own list to participate in the election. He has also been dismissed from his job as chairman of the Yasser Arafat Foundation.
The sources said that Kidwa was still hoping to join forces with jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving a five-life-term sentence in an Israeli prison for his role in terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada. Barghouti is reportedly considering challenging PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah leadership by running for president and forming a separate Fatah-affiliated list for the parliamentary vote.