Abbas orders establishment of elections court ahead of Palestinian vote

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issues a presidential decree ordering the establishment of an elections court to resolve disputes between Fatah, Hamas and other factions in the upcoming legislative vote.

The first Palestinian elections in 15 years are scheduled to take place on May 22. While many observers are still skeptical that the vote will actually happen, optimism has slowly been growing in diplomatic circles that Palestinians could head to the ballot box.

The establishment of an independent elections court has been a central demand by Abbas’s Hamas rivals, who have expressed concern that Abbas could use a court to revise election results should he lose.

The panel’s judges include representatives both from the West Bank, which is controlled by Abbas’s Fatah movement, and from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The election is chaired by Iman Nasr al-Din. A Palestinian lawyer involved in forming an independent list in the upcoming Palestinian elections called her “a well-respected, professional jurist, with a good reputation.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership to discuss the United Arab Emirates’ deal with Israel to normalize relations, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 18, 2020. (Mohamad Torokman/Pool via AP)