Friday, September 30, 2005

Hamas Struggling in Elections

Hamas is unhappy today.
Hamas complained that many of its candidates were detained by Israeli troops before Thursday's election. The arrests are part of Israel's weeklong campaign against militants, triggered by rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli border towns.
Perhaps they shouldn't shoot rockets.

The results, however, suggest something even more interesting:
Jamal Shobaki, head of the Local Elections Commission, said Fatah took control of 61 councils, while Hamas won 28. Other parties and independents won 15 councils, said Shobaki, a leading Fatah member.

Final results showed Fatah winning 54 percent of the vote, compared to 26 percent for Hamas.
It would be interesting to see, if it can be gauged, how much of an effect the arrests had - not so much because people decided not to vote for Hamas, but rather because they were not being threatened to vote for Hamas. Hamas is trying to focus the media attention on the Israeli arrests to show how they have interfered with Palestinian elections; but as has been noted in the past, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have notoriously interfered with people's votes through threats - both spoken and inferred.

As an interesting and funny note...
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said he did not trust the accuracy of the preliminary results, and that Hamas would soon publish its own count. In previous rounds, Hamas and Fatah released different figures, in part by each claiming independent lists as affiliates.
I can make up numbers too. I hear Netanyahu got 74% of the vote.

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