Palestinian Authority Presidential and Legislative Elections: March/April 2021 (proposed)

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

Not Free
Government Type
Semi-Presidential Republic
2.8 million (West Bank) and 1.8 million (Gaza Strip)
Presidential and Legislative Elections
March/April 2021 (delays possible)
Local Elections
May 13, 2017 (West Bank only)
Legislative Elections

January 25, 2006
Presidential Election
January 9, 2005
Local Elections
December 2004-December 2005 (both West Bank and Gaza Strip)

The Palestinian Authority – consisting of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – plans to hold long-overdue presidential and legislative elections in March or April 2021, following an agreement reached in September 2020. However, previous similar agreements have fallen apart, and so could this one. Therefore, delays are possible.

Political Context

Palestinian Authority elections are long overdue. President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 15 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. Consequently, if the deal does not fall through as previous deals have, the elections should take place in March or April 2021. In short, the elections could happen, but they also could face further delays.

Curated News and Analysis

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

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Updated October 13, 2020

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