The Palestinian Legislative Council, in which Hamas won a majority in 2006, has not convened since 2007 and was dissolved by the Palestinian Supreme Court in 2018.
The Nova24tv news portal ran an article on Hamas on October 10, 2023, claiming that the movement won the 2006 Palestinian general election and then consolidated its political power, ousting President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement. The report said that Hamas still retains a majority in parliament today, which they claim means that “the Palestinian people still support this kind of leadership”.
In 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords, committing Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and to support an autonomous Palestinian Authority. Since the signing of the accords, elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council have been held twice.
The first election was won by Fatah, while Hamas did not participate.
The second election was held in 2006, with 78.2% of the eligible voters casting their ballots. Hamas, designated by the EU as a terrorist organization since 2003, won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats.
Political analysts Francesco Cavatorta and Robert Elgie wrote in an article published in the journal Parliamentary Affairs that Hamas formed a coalition with the second-placed party, Fatah, after the elections. As a result of the clashes between the two parties, in which Hamas took control of Gaza, President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency in June 2007.
Primož Šterbenc, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Management of the University of Primorska and author of several papers on the political situation in the Middle East, likewise told Razkrinkavanje.si that there have been no elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006.
In his opinion, the support Hamas received in that election “certainly clearly reflected the will of the people of the West Bank and Gaza”. Hamas’s victory at that time, he said, was a reflection of the Palestinians’ frustration with the failure of the 1993-2000 peace process, which had been implemented by the Palestinian government in cooperation with Israel.
Šterbenc however pointed out that the majority support for Hamas in 2006 does not reflect the opinion of the Palestinians today: “We cannot say that Hamas has majority support just because it won it the last general election in 2006.”
Although President Abbas announced in 2021 that general and presidential elections would be held in May and July that year, he postponed them indefinitely in April. As reported by the Reuters news agency, he decided to postpone the elections because the Israeli occupation was preventing some Palestinians from voting.
Razkrinkavanje informed Nova24tv of the above findings and will publish their response upon receiving it.
The claim that Hamas still holds a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council is not true, as it was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2018. Likewise, the claim that Hamas’s victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections means that this is the kind of leadership that the Palestinians still largely support today is not true.