Palestinian election day round-up!
With the Palestinian elections being held today, with Abu Mazen being a shoe in , I feel I may have neglected a Middle-eastern nation exercise in democracy because of, you know, that other Middle-eastern nation upcoming democratic election that's been kinda hauging everyone's attention. So I figure, why not provide you guys with some info on that important yet kinda ignored election? First of all, if you want to know the elections facts and figures, please go here! Secondly, it seems that this election has its share of problems, unique and common ones. The unique problem is that Israel, for security reasons, isn't easing up on Palestinian movement restrictions as the Palestinians would like. As for the common problem, well,voters in this election already feel kinda disenfranchised. For example, a lot of Palestinians feel that it makes no sense for them to vote because as one of them have put it : Why even consider voting for a government that will have no sovereignty? Well, I can think of a couple of reasons, like the need for the Palestinians to have someone who will speak for them and present their views and what they stand for to the world, and maybe, just maybe, get to exercise the democracy that not many Arab countries- including my own- enjoy. Thankfully the author of this article did provide two more reasons for me: Firstly, the Palestinians have a track record already of democracy and relatively transparent and accountable public institutions and rule. Continuing that process would only strengthen Palestinian Unity and give them a membership in the middle east democratic countries club, which has only one member to date and that member being, ironically, Israel . Secondly, Palestinian statehood is guaranteed under international law. It therefore has a legitimacy and formal guarantee of non-interference by the occupier! Which means you do have sovereignty you morons, you just gotta keep the terrorists in check in order to actually get to practice it. It's good also to note that despite calls by radical Islamist groups, like-surprise surprise- Hamas, to snub the polls more than 70 percent of the 1.8 million Palestinians aged over 18 and eligible to vote have registered ahead of Sunday's ballot, arguing well for a high turnout. Hell, it seems- as the NYTimes points here- that after four years of violence and the death of Mr. Arafat, Hamas is struggling against a shift in political sentiment toward the mainstream and a new possibility for improved relations with Israel. Opinion polls actually show a clear movement away from Hamas. Kinda gives you hope for Iraq doesn't it?