To What End?
Marc Lynch brings us the latest on the Palestinian unity front. It's not pretty:
What about Abu Mazen's call for elections? Very, very few Palestinians with whom I've spoken, or who write in the Palestinian and Arab media, believe that elections absent a prior political agreement on the ground rules will solve anything. I've advocated for holding Palestinian elections in the past, but on the premise that they would follow rather than precede a political agreement. Those Palestinian analysts who I've seen supporting the call for elections generally premise that support on their hopes that it will generate political consensus first.
With such a political agreement, then elections could provide a route towards creating a legitimate and effective government capable of both peace negotiations and institutional development. Without a political agreement, elections will either be a sham or will badly inflame intra-Palestinian conflict. The lessons of this year's Iranian, Afghan, and Lebanese elections should be taken very seriously by those weighing the merits of Abu Mazen's call for early elections without a prior political consensus.