The chamber of the Palestinian Legislative Council, which has not met in years. Palestinian Authority elections are long overdue. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Jasmine Halki (CC BY 2.0)
Freedom House Rating
2.8 million (West Bank) and 1.8 million (Gaza Strip)
May 22, 2021
July 31, 2021
May 13, 2017 (West Bank only)
January 25, 2006
January 9, 2005
December 2004-December 2005 (both West Bank and Gaza Strip)
The Palestinian Authority – consisting of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – has scheduled long-overdue legislative elections for May 22, 2021 and a long-delayed presidential election for July 31, 2021. Palestinian authorities insist that these elections will actually happen as scheduled; however, additional delays remain possible.
Palestinian Authority elections are long overdue. President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 16 of a four-year term. Likewise, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections are also long overdue – the last took place in 2006, and the legislators’ terms expired in 2010. Meanwhile, the PLC has not met since 2007. In other words, the PLC is not currently functioning.
In December 2018, the Ramallah-based Constitutional Court issued a ruling dissolving the PLC (which – again – had not met since 2007) and ordering elections within six months. However, the elections were subsequently put on hold indefinitely in the midst of a deadlocked conflict between the Gaza-baed Hamas and Abbas’s secularist Fatah, based in the West Bank.
On September 17, 2020, the leaders agreed to hold elections within six months. The deal could still fall through as previous deals have, but elections have been scheduled, and Palestinian officials insist that they will take place. In short, the elections could happen, but they also could face further delays.
Zainah El-Haroun, Reuters (February 16, 2021): Ashrawi Will Not Run in Palestinian Elections, to Mentor New Generation
Murat Sofuoglu, TRT World (February 13, 2021): Will elections bring change to Palestine?
AP (February 10, 2021): Palestinian elections on track after factions meet in Cairo
Fares Akram, AP (February 10, 2021): Gazans hope for vote after years of Hamas rule, isolation
Reuters (February 10, 2021): Palestinians open election registration offices in West Bank and Gaza
Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta, Reuters (February 8, 2021): Hamas and Fatah hold Egyptian-brokered reconciliation talks in Cairo
Isabel Kershner and Adam Rasgon, New York Times (January 15, 2021): Abbas Announces Palestinian Elections After Years of Paralysis
Aaron Boxerman, Times of Israel (October 7, 2020): Despite flurry of fresh promises, Palestinians skeptical elections will happen
Al Jazeera (September 23, 2020): Fatah, Hamas say deal reached on Palestinian elections
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Updated February 17, 2021