It is expected that Hamas will win at least one third of the votes in the second Palestinian Parliamentary elections, the second ever since the establishment of the Palestinian state. The ruling Fatah party is expected to win some 40 percent of the votes.
In general, Palestinians are concerned that Hamas will have a strong showing in the government which will reflect on the social life in the Palestinian territories. This is in addition to the American and Israeli threats to not recognize the elected Palestinian if Hamas is part of it.
These threats, in fact, affect the democratic process that Palestinians are trying to conduct.
On one hand, some voters would support Hamas against the will of the U.S. and Israel. On the other hand, others would be afraid to vote for Hamas because the public in Palestine are striving for a political settlement to end the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
The other concern Palestinians have is that Fatah wins a majority in the Legislative council and therefore in the government. Fatah has been a vast majority in the past ten years of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The council as seen by the public was almost obsolete, and the Palestinian Authority’s performance was unacceptable.
This is, in fact, the strongest argument Hamas uses in its campaigning against Fatah and this can be read through the name of Hamas’ list, "Change and Reform List."
Hamas, the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who boycotted the 1996 elections, as they opposed Oslo agreement, upon which the elections were based, are partially responsible for the one-color previous parliament.
The Palestinian People’s Party was the only left wing party that contested the 1996 elections, yet failed to win any seat in the parliament.
What is comforting the public somehow is the fact that neither Fatah nor Hamas will be able to make the 51% alone in the elections. Therefore, the small parties which in most are left wing groups have a great effect in deciding who will form the coming government.
This means that both Hamas and Fatah need the other parties to be able to form a government.
The best scenario for the Palestinians would be that each of the two main lists would need to create a coalition with more than one list to be able to form a government.
This will ensure a variety of colors in the parliament which will help in fighting corruption and will end the Fatah-only parliament, and at the same time, will not allow Hamas to be in the government.
Four lists in addition to Fatah and Hamas are expected to win seats in the parliament.
The "Palestine Independent List", lead by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary general of the Palestinian Democratic Initiative and independent candidates, is expected to be third after Fatah and Hamas. Dr. Barghouthi came second and won 19 percent of the votes in the 2005 presidential elections, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected president.
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 Alternative list is a coalition of the Palestinian Peoples Party, 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 jailed lawmaker Marwan Barghouthi leads the Fatah list whereas Ismael Haniya, from the Gaza Strip leads Hamas’ list named, Reform and Change list.