Palestinians Head to the Polls, “Jordan Spring” Analyzed
Over 515,000 Palestinians have registered to vote in Saturday’s West Bank municipal elections, Central Elections Commission director Hisham Khahil said. For the first time in seven years, West Bank residents will head to the polls to participate in municipal elections which have been deemed “illegitimate” by Hamas. West Bank officials hope the elections will be held in the Gaza Strip as well, although Hamas has protested any such aspirations, calling on party members in the West Bank to boycott the elections.
Participating in the elections are two all-female lists, including Women of the Town from Saffa and In Participation, We Can from Hebron. The Central Elections Commission in Ramallah said of the roughly 4,700 candidates running in these elections, 25 percent are women. Elham Sami from Women of the Town argued for a grassroots approach: “We represent all the women, all the youth, all the handicapped in the village.” Maysoun Qawasami, leader of In Participation, We Can said, “I’m coming to change my society, in the best way, in a positive way, to send a message that women can do lots of things as decision makers.”
Meanwhile, in neighboring Jordan, Zaki Bani Rashid wrote an op-ed on the Jordanian Spring for The Guardian. “The need for genuine reform is clear,” Rashid states, “and the opposition has chosen to remain on the streets until it is achieved.” Ultimately, Rashid argues, the power remains in the hands of the regime and the opposition is left wondering if ” this time reform will be realized with transition to a genuine constitutional monarchy.”