This perspective is by Hugh Lovatt, Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Here is an excerpt:
President Mahmoud Abbas has tipped Palestinians and their national movement deeper into crisis – and he has no exit strategy. By indefinitely postponing the first elections in 15 years, he has missed an important opportunity to put Palestine back on the path towards national reunification and accountable leadership. He is increasing the political fragmentation and authoritarianism that has marked Palestinian politics since the last elections.
None of this was inevitable. In the past few months, there was credible progress towards legislative and presidential elections for the Palestinian Authority (PA) – thanks to the extensive efforts of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission and wide-ranging support from Palestinian factions. By the end of April, 36 electoral lists had registered to compete in a legislative election scheduled for late May.
But last week’s annulment, a few days before the start of campaigning, was predictable. Since the launch of the electoral process, there had been speculation that Abbas would ultimately call it off if he felt his hold on power slipping. Ironically, this threat came not from Islamist Hamas but from within his own Fatah party.
Read the full article here.