The Palestinian Elections: Sweeping Victory, Uncertain Mandate

Issue Date July 2006
Volume 17
Issue 3
Page Numbers 116-130
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The surprise victory of Hamas in the 26 January 2006 Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections has captured worldwide attention and raised major questions about the direction of Palestinian politics and the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. By giving Hamas a parliamentary majority, Palestinian voters were neither endorsing extremism nor rejecting the peace process. Other Palestinian institutions have the potential to restrain Hamas, but there is a risk that it will turn to Iran or Syria for help. A Hamas-led PA aligned to an Iranian-Syrian axis could lead to either the collapse of the PA or the end of the Palestinian democratic experiment.