At least 1.3 million Palestinians who are eligible voters will elect 132 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Wednesday in the second parliamentary elections ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
Some 414 candidates are running in 16 electoral districts in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and 314 candidates running in 11 lists representing all the Palestinian factions and group except for the Islamic Jihad who called its members and supporters to boycott the elections.
Dr. Hanna Nasser, chair of the Central Election Commission said in a press conference in Ramallah that preliminary results of the elections will be announced 24 hours after closing the ballots.
The main two competitors are Fatah and Hamas. Latest public polls show that Fatah is expected to win some 40 percent whereas Hamas is expected to win some 35 percent of the votes. The rest 25 percent will be split between the other parties and groups.
Local observers believe that six lists will make it to the parliament. Fatah, Hamas, Palestine Independent List, the Alternative List, the Third Way list and the Abu Ali Mustafa list.
Palestine Independent List is lead by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary general of the Palestinian Democratic Initiative and independent candidates. Dr. Barghouthi won 19 percent of the votes in the 2005 presidential elections.
The Alternative list is a coalition of the Palestinian Peoples Part, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (DFLP) and the Palestinian Democratic Union and independent candidates.
The Third Way list is a coalition of independent candidates led by the former Minister of Finance Salam Fayyad and Dr. Hanan Ashrawi the former minister of Higher Education.
The Abu Ali Mustafa list is led by Ahmad Sa’adat, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP) who is currently in the Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho.
The jailed lawmaker Marwan Barghouthi leads the Fatah list whereas Ismael Haniya, from the Gaza Strip leads Hamas’s list named, Reform and Change list.