Palestinian National Dialogue in Cairo Ahead of Upcoming Elections

Voting in Palestine picture
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation

The most important political event that concerns and will be closely monitored by the Palestinian public and by regional and international powers, is the beginning of the consultations of the Palestinian political factions. These are between the organisations and groups, which are members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the two fundamentalist Islamic organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are not members of the PLO.

The Palestinian National Dialogue sessions kicked off today in Cairo under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The meetings held today focus on various necessary procedures for holding the upcoming legislative and presidential elections and how to end the long lasting national division between West Bank and Gaza, Fatah and Hamas. Representatives of 14 factions, who received invitations from the Egyptian Government to take part in the meeting, arrived in Cairo yesterday. On their agenda are the legislative elections planned for May 22, as well as the legal and technical procedures for holding the elections.

The presidential elections have been announced to be held on July 31. The elections to the Exile “Palestinian National Council” on August 3. Earlier in January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on organizing general elections in May followed by Presidential election on July of 2021. These elections would be the first to be held in about 15 years, as the last legislative elections witnessed in Palestine were held in 2006, and the last presidential elections were in 2005.

The National Dialogue meetings in Cairo are scheduled to continue until February 9, with the aim of achieving fruitful, positive results’ according to statement issued by the participating Palestinian factions. In an exclusive statement to Egypt Today, an official said that hosting the Palestinian National Dialogue in Cairo, comes as part of Egypt’s continues support to the Palestinians and to help them achieving long- sought unity. Commenting on the event, the high-level official added that this dialogue aims at overcoming Palestinian disputes in order to build a better future for next generations

The delegations arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday as the country continued its efforts to mend the long-running rift between the two rivals. The geography poses a logistical challenge -- and so does the uncertainty over the prospect of a vote being held in East Jerusalem, which has already derailed some of the previous efforts to hold the elections.

The outcome of this dialogue will be decisive and significant for the future of the Palestinian political system and national unity. Although most Palestinians are pessimistic on a positive outcome according to the many failed attempts in the past to organise elections and overcome the political, social, economic and geographical divisions of Palestine, but most of them hope they might be successful this round.