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Monday, September 26, 2005

Fatah Keeps Advantage Over Hamas in PA Election

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – The Fatah faction maintains the lead in the Palestinian Authority’s legislative election, according to a poll by An-Najah National University. 40.9 per cent of respondents would vote for Fatah in a direct contest against Hamas.

Hamas was the top party in seven of the 10 Gaza Strip municipalities that held local elections on Jan. 27. The Israeli government believes Hamas is directly responsible for the deaths of 377 citizens in a variety of attacks, which include dozens of suicide bombings. 33.2 per cent of respondents would support Hamas candidates in the election, while 26 per cent remain undecided.

The election to the Palestinian Legislative Council—which was supposed to take place last July—was re-scheduled for Jan. 25, 2006. In June, the Legislative Council endorsed a series of new electoral regulations after a 43-14 vote. The rules increase the number of lawmakers from 88 to 132—choosing half of all legislators through party lists—and call for the president’s tenure to end at the same time as the terms of elected lawmakers.

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas—a member of Fatah—has urged Hamas to become involved in political activity. Earlier this month, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon said specific conditions should be met before Hamas is allowed to field candidates, saying, "In order to participate in the elections, they have to do two things. One, their weapons should be collected, and the other thing, they have to ban the covenant of the Hamas. It is one of the most terrible documents, calling for the elimination of the Jewish people and the state of Israel."

Polling Data

If you are to choose between two blocks only, Fatah and Hamas, whom do you vote for in the coming Palestinian Legislative Council elections?

All West Bank Gaza Strip

Fatah 40.9% 38.3% 45.4 %

Hamas 33.2% 37.1% 26.4%

Not sure 26.0% 24.7% 28.2%

Source: An-Najah National University
Methodology: Interviews to 860 Palestinians in the West Bank and 500 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, conducted from Sept. 12 to Sept. 16, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.
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