After the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Palestine was divided into 16 administrative districts, 11 are in the West Bank and 5 in the Gaza Strip.
From December 2004 to December 2005, local elections were held in four rounds for the first time since 1976. In the urban centers, the refugee camps and almost everywhere in the Gaza Strip, Hamas won with almost no competition. Fatah had better results in rural communities, but Hamas did unexpectedly well there too. Even in Fatah constituencies that were considered safe, Hamas was able to prevail in the West Bank.
Because of the dispute between Fatah and Hamas, the local elections scheduled for July 17, 2010 were postponed by the Palestinian Authority for the first time in June 2010 and then two more times (the last time on August 22, 2011 “until appropriate circumstances the holding of nationwide Allow elections “). On May 14, 2012, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree that abolished the simultaneous holding of local elections in all parts of the country, that is, allowed separate elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
On October 20, 2012 then found in 93 (26%) of the total of 353 municipalities in the West Bank elections instead. The turnout was 54.8%. In Hebron there was an all- women list, but it could not win a seat on the city council. In Bethlehem, however, Vera Baboun managed to become the head of the city administration.
Dissatisfaction with the list of candidates led some Fatah members to put up alternative lists, after which they were expelled from the party leadership. In Ramallah, Nablus, Tubas and Jenin, these Fatah supporters, running as independent candidates, beat the official Fatah list.
In 181 municipalities, the seats were assigned by acclamation, as only one list had been drawn up.
By-elections were to be held in 73 districts on November 24, 2012, as there were problems with the lists of candidates. Because of the escalation of violence between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel in November 2012, the cabinet decided to postpone these elections. They took place on December 22, 2012.
According to CALCULATORINC, the second by-elections took place on June 1, 2013 in 8 locations. In 14 parishes, the council members were appointed by acclamation, since only one list was drawn up. Nothing happened in 14 other congregations, as there was not even a list here.
The next local elections should now take place on October 8, 2016, this time with Hamas participating. On September 8, 2016, after a dispute between Fatah and Hamas over the approval of candidate lists, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and the non-inclusion of Jerusalem in the planned elections, the Palestinian Supreme Court decided that the elections had to be postponed until at least December 2016, which was very annoying the population. A month later, the court ruled that the elections could only take place in the West Bank.
As a result, on October 3, 2016, the Central Electoral Committee (CEC), an independent body responsible for overseeing the electoral process, recommended that the elections be postponed for six months in order to prevent the exclusion of Gaza from further exacerbating political division and worsening general situation leads. The Palestinian cabinet agreed with this opinion and decided on October 4, 2016 to postpone the local elections for four months.
On January 31, 2017, the Palestinian Council of Ministers decided to hold local elections on May 13, 2017 in both parts of the country. Hamas condemned the decision and called it unacceptable. It would increase the division, serve Fatah and would be at the expense of the Palestinian people and the unity of the institutions. National reconciliation must go hand in hand with elections.
On January 3, 2017, the Council of Ministers had already decided to create a new, central electoral court, which will be responsible for election-related disputes in place of the courts of first instance in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Hamas rejected this decree. The government is not empowered to make such a decision. That is a matter for the Palestinian Legislative Council. She also feared the benefits of Fatah.
On February 28, 2017, the Palestinian government officially announced that the local elections on May 13, 2017 would only take place in the West Bank.
On March 1, 2017, the Central Election Commission published a revised, detailed schedule for these elections.
After the violent dissolution of peaceful protests by the Palestinian police on March 12, 2017, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) declared that it would not take part in the local elections if those responsible were not brought to justice.
Two of the 735 lists submitted were women-only lists, eight lists were led by women, and 26% of all candidates were women. 58.4% of all lists were non-party.
The election campaign began on April 29, 2017. On the same day, the Central Election Commission published the final list of electoral lists and candidates and announced that elections will only take place in 37% of all municipalities in the West Bank (145 of 391) on May 13, 2017. There will be no elections in 181 municipalities, as only one electoral list had been submitted there. There were no elections in 65 towns because no or insufficient electoral lists had been submitted.
According to the chairman of the Central Election Commission Dr. Hanna Nassir, voting on May 13, 2017 went smoothly and without any major legal violations. The overall turnout was 53.4%.
In the 145 municipalities in which elections took place on that day, the total of 1,552 seats were distributed as follows: 65.0% independent, 27.6% Fatah, 2.77% Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), 2.77 % Party coalitions, 0.58% Palestinian National Initiative, 0.45% Palestinian Democratic Union (Fida), 0.32% Democratic Coalition, 0.26% Palestinian People’s Struggle Front, 0.19% Palestinian People’s Party (PPP).
In the 181 municipalities in which only one list was drawn up, the total of 1,683 seats are distributed as follows: 74.9% Fatah, 12.9% party coalitions, 11.6% independents, 0.65% Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( DFLP).
19.8% of all elected seats and 22.4% of all appointed seats went to women. The proportion of women among the new members of the village and city councils is 21.1 %. In Al Ma’sara in the administrative district of Bethlehem, a woman has headed a village council for the first time: Fatima Breijieh. She was the top candidate for the only list that had been drawn up in the village of 1,200. Their program includes rebuilding the village’s infrastructure, empowering women and building a recycling facility to create jobs for young people. She has been active in local politics for more than 27 years. She ran a women’s center and was general secretary of a women’s cooperative in her village for eight years.
By-elections took place in the northern districts on July 29, 2017. The Central Election Commission published a schedule for this on June 1, 2017. Anata is an exception. After objecting to the elections on May 13, 2017, the citizens were called to the polls again on Saturday, July 1, 2017.