Legislative Elections (2021) – cancelled

Elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) were scheduled to take place on 22 May 2021 but were indefinitely postponed by President Mahmoud Abbas citing Israel’s refusal to permit the inclusion of East Jerusalem. The move was opposed by most factions – including Hamas, the PFLP, and DFLP – as well as the Fatah’s splinter factions lead by Nasser Kidwa, Marwan Barghouti and Mohammed Dahlan. Analysts have cited Fatah’s own internal rivalries as the main reason for Abbas’s decision. Following the cancellation of elections, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has arrested several PLC candidates, ostensibly for ‘defaming’ Abbas.

Electoral lists represent a party, coalition of parties, or a group of voters. Registration of electoral lists took place between 20-31 March without major issues. In total, 36 list, comprising 1,389 candidates, registered to participate in the legislative elections. This included several youth and civil society lists, including: “Fed Up“; and “The Voice of the People“.

Full candidacy details for all registered electoral lists can be found on the website of the Central Elections Commission here.

The electoral process adopted a proportional representation system that treats the whole Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza) as one electoral constituency. In total, 132 PLC seats were to be contested. To be eligible, candidates have to meet number of conditions, including committing themselves to the PA’s 2003 Amended Basic Law. Some of the additional conditions, however, severely restrict the ability of younger civil society activists from standing.

Only the names of the electoral lists appear on the ballot paper — as opposed to the names of the candidates themselves. Voter can choose only one list. Any list which passes the threshold (1.5%) is allocated a number of seats proportional to the total number of votes that it receives. The candidates of winning lists are seated in their sequential order. Seven PLC seats will be reserved for Christians.